NEW YORK - The Big Board just isn't so big anymore.
In a deal that highlights the dwindling stature of what was once a centerpiece of capitalism, the New York Stock Exchange is being sold to a little-known rival for $8 billion - $3 billion less than it would have fetched in a proposed takeover just last year.
The buyer is IntercontinentalExchange, a 12-year-old exchange headquartered in Atlanta that deals in investing contracts known as futures.
Early morning commuters pass the New York Stock Exchange Thursday. Shares in the company that runs the New York Stock Exchange are surging amid reports that it is in talks to sell itself to a rival stock exchange, Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange Inc.
Intercontinental Exchange, known as ICE, said Thursday that little would change for the trading floor at the corner of Wall and Broad streets, in Manhattan's financial district.
But the clout of the two-centuries-old NYSE has gradually been eroded over decades by the relentless advance of technology and regulatory changes. Its importance today is mostly symbolic.
The NYSE dates to 1792, when 24 brokers and merchants traded stocks under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street. But today most trading doesn't require face-to-face meeting at all. It's done on computers that match thousands of orders a second.
Three decades ago, the floor of the New York exchange was full of bustling traders. Today, one of its largest booths belongs to the cable news channel CNBC, which broadcasts there for most of the business day.