As exchange mergers go, none shook up world market structures more than Intercontinental Exchange's November 2013 acquisition of NYSE Euronext, parent of the New York Stock Exchange, for $11 billion. The deal vaulted ICE, which power-market entrepreneur Jeffrey Sprecher launched in 2000 on a then-novel technology architecture, into the top rank of trading- and clearing-venue operators serving multiple asset classes. The erstwhile upstart's strategy, combining acquisitions with organic growth in numerous listed and over-the-counter products and services, was already paying off handsomely by the time NYSE came into the fold. And there has been no let-up, with ICE delivering 2016 operating income of $2.2 billion (24 percent more than a year earlier) on $5 billion in revenues after transaction-based expenses (up 35 percent). First-quarter 2017 operating income was flat, at $582 million, in part because of $12 million in transaction and integration expenses related to Interactive Data Corp., which ICE bought for $5.2 billion in December 2015. Amid the secular explosion in data and heightened demand for market intelligence and analytics, IDC and the ICE Data Services business of which it is a part may turn out to be as strategically momentous as the NYSE merger. ICE Data Services boosted first-quarter revenue, to $520 million from $477 million in the same period in 2016. By contrast, ICE's net transaction and clearing revenue fell to $798 million from $929 million. In April, Data Services introduced an enhancement to its reference data service across its five futures exchanges, and in May it added TMX Atrium, a networking and information services business, to the Secure Financial Transaction Infrastructure (SFTI) that was inherited from NYSE. On June 1, ICE announced an agreement to acquire the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research index platform, which will bring the total assets benchmarked against ICE's fixed-income index business to nearly $1 trillion. Chairman and CEO Sprecher, 62, said in his May earnings announcement that those results, alongside successes in attracting IPOs and growth in futures volumes and open interest, "demonstrate that we are holistically serving our customers on a global scale by leveraging our comprehensive trading, data, and risk management solutions."
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