Dollars and Jens
Thursday, December 04, 2003
Archipelago planning to go public

Archipelago, a rival electronic stock trading network to the Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange, is planning its next challenge: an initial public offering.


Billed as the largest all-electronic stock exchange, Archipelago handled about 29 percent of all over-the-counter trades on Nov. 20.

Its current volume record is 730 million shares, set on June 6. Archipelago has not yet released any revenue or net income statements.

The IPO plan surfaced after Archipelago, which merged with Redibook last year, said on Nov. 13 that General Atlantic Partners took a minority stake in the company for $125 million. Past investors include Instinet, Goldman Sachs, E-Trade, J.P. Morgan and Merrill Lynch.

The company was formed in 1996 after electronic communications networks were allowed to interact directly with the Nasdaq.Chief Executive Jerry Putnam launched the exchange as a joint venture with software developer Townsend Analytics.

I used to work for Townsend, and worked closely with Archipelago. In 2001 Jerry Putnam told us we would have a party after the first week in which Arca traded a billion shares; that happened the first full week after 9/11. The decision was made to have the party, but not until a couple of months later; there was rather less joy in the milestone than had been anticipated when the target was put forth.

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