By Matt Jarzemsky
New York Stock Exchange parent NYSE Euronext (NYX) is getting into the business of helping private companies sell shares.
The largest U.S. stock exchange operator by volume has agreed to partner with startup ACE Group Inc. to facilitate stock sales by closely held companies, it said in a statement. NYSE also took a minority stake in ACE for an undisclosed sum.
Stock-exchange firms are seeking new revenue sources following a multi-year decline in the number of U.S.-listed shares changing hands. NYSE rival Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ) announced a similar move in March, partnering with online private stock-trading company SharesPost Inc.
Stock investors have looked to pre-IPO companies in recent years as a way to get in early on businesses they see as poised for big growth. For example, Fidelity Investments and other mutual fund firms bought Facebook Inc. (FB) shares before its initial public offering, according to Wall Street Journal reports.
At midyear, Deutsche Bank AG (DB, DBK.XE) was tracking about 30 technology companies that have achieved $1 billion valuations in the private market, bankers wrote in a note to clients.
ACE, founded in 2010 and led by former investment bankers, provides online tools meant to help companies, bankers and investors participate in sales of stock and debt, as well as other assets such as stakes in private-equity funds.
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