Tags: Exchange | Operator | BATS | Debut

Exchange Operator BATS Stumbles in IPO Debut

Friday, 23 March 2012 01:34 PM

The debut of BATS Global Markets Exchange Inc. on Friday was overshadowed by a series of blunders, including its own shares erroneously trading for less than a penny and confusing investors.

The exchange operator, which priced 6.3 million shares at $16 per share late Thursday, saw its stock initially dip to $15.25 before the slew of bad trades. Shares were still halted as of 1:10 p.m.

BATS had said on its website that trading would resume at 1:20 p.m. EDT, but later said on the website that there was another delay. It set no time for a resumption.

"The last thing you want to do as a listing exchange is mess up your introduction to the public investment world — the IPO," said Jason Weisberg, managing director at Seaport Securities Corp.

The trades took place between 11:14 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. They were later canceled by Nasdaq, where the shares remained halted at $15.25.

The exchanges was forced to declare "self-help," which means an exchange is dealing with internal problems processing trades and needs to send trades through other venues.

As BATS was to begin trading, a bad trade for 100 shares of Apple Inc also triggered a circuit breaker that halted trading of the world's most valuable company.

At 11:07 a.m. the exchange said it was investigating system issues with trading in symbols in the range "A" through "BF," which would include Apple and BATS.

"In the end, it's just another black eye for the fragmented equity structure. Every day we see things like flash crashes and now IPOs that can't get off the ground," said Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

BATS, headed by 45-year-old Joe Ratterman, was formed in 2005 by major banks and trading firms looking to break the stranglehold that the NYSE and Nasdaq had on U.S. stock trading.

BATS could not be reached for comment.

© 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Friday, 23 March 2012 01:34 PM
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