NYSE, Nasdaq in Reported Merger Talks

FRAMINGHAM (03/03/2000) - The New York Stock Exchange Inc. (NYSE) and the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc. (NASD) have discussed merging to preserve a key role in the likely creation of an electronic centralized marketplace, according to a report in today's Wall Street Journal.

The talks are said to center on joint ventures, market affiliations and combinations, reported the Journal, quoting a document which may be sent to NASD members as early as next week.

A spokesman for NASD said there are currently "no negotiations" or deals under way with the Big Board. However, when asked if the NASD had discussed a possible combination with the NYSE, the NASD spokesman said, "We talk to everybody all the time." He added that NASD had explored the possibility of combining its regulatory operations with those at NYSE "some time ago."

The activities follow a recent request by the Securities and Exchange Commission and four of the nation's top brokerages to create a centralized market structure. The requests reflect the pressure that NYSE and other exchanges are under to more fully automate their operations in light of increasing competition from other electronic networks such as Instinet and Archipelago LLC.

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