Stock exchanges in merger talks

|By:, SA News Editor

BATS Global Markets (BATS) is reportedly in advanced negotiations to merge with Direct Edge Holdings in an all-stock deal that would create the second-largest exchange operator in the U.S. in terms of shares traded, putting it behind the NYSE (NYX) but ahead of Nasdaq (NDAQ).

BATS CEO Joseph Ratterman is expected to become the head of the new firm, while Direct Edge boss William O'Brien would become president. The companies plan to continue operating all four of their U.S. stock-exchange platforms after the merger.

Both firms are profitable, with BATS earning EBITDA of $101M in 2012.

Direct Edge's owners include KCG Holdings (KCG), Goldman Sachs (GS), Citadel and the International Securities Exchange. Those of BATS include KCG also, as well as Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Credit Suisse (CS), Deutsche Bank (DB), JPMorgan (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS).