This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.
The NYSE Group and Euronext hope to create the world's largest financial exchange group by the end of March. Their shareholders voted last month to approve a plan to combine the two exchange operators.
The proposed fourteen billion dollar deal will create the first trans-Atlantic stock exchange. American and European government officials must still approve the merger plan.
The new group, to be called NYSE Euronext, will have a combined market value of about twenty-seven billion dollars. The deal has been developing since June.
The New York Stock Exchange is the world's biggest stock market. Euronext is Europe's leading international exchange. It operates the stock markets in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Paris.
Germany's Deutsche Borse withdrew its own offer for Euronext in November.
Financial markets have grown increasingly international and competitive. The planned merger of Euronext and the NYSE Group is a good example of this new climate.
Euronext is itself the product of mergers. The Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris exchanges joined in two thousand to create Euronext. It was first traded publicly in two thousand one, and has since added other exchanges in Lisbon and London.
In the past, stock markets were organized unlike the companies they listed. Now many financial markets operate as publicly traded businesses. That means they must answer to their own shareholders.
The New York Stock Exchange was a nonprofit organization that was largely self-supervising. Then, last March, the NYSE Group was formed as a publicly traded company. That happened when the Big Board combined with the electronic trading exchange Archipelago Holdings.
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange became the first publicly traded exchange in the United States at the end of two thousand two.
Some markets have sought to buy or link with other exchanges. These deals have created bigger markets, often selling highly complex financial products. Bigger markets offer more liquidity -- investors have a greater chance of selling quickly if needed.
NYSE Euronext will trade not only stocks but options, futures, bonds and more. Total value of the listed companies? About twenty-six trillion dollars.
The stock prices of the NYSE Group and Euronext both doubled last year. This has other big exchanges considering deals of their own.
And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. I'm Steve Ember.