Stock exchange’s IPO scuppered by its own software

A company that operates a stock exchange in the US was forced to abort its initial public offering (IPO) last week, after a software glitch in its trading platform prevented it from floating its own shares.

BATS Global Markets, which operates the BATS Exchange, issues shares on its own market on Friday morning. However, “a software bug related to IPO auctions” prevented traders from buying or selling various stocks, including its own.

CEO Joe Ratterman called the glitch a “devastating moment for our company, our associates, our members, our investors and our underwriters”.

Ratterman said that the company has decided to put its IPO on hold as the technical problem made it “unlikely” that trading on its shares could proceed in a fair and orderly manner.

“We were concerned that if we reopened trading in the stock, the results would be devastating,” he said in an open letter posted to the exchange’s web page. “Unfortunately, sometimes technology implementations are prone to failures and unexpected outcomes, even after going through rigorous testing.”

Ratterman later told the Reuters news agency that investor confidence in the company had been eroded as a result of the glitch. “Basically because we’re an exchange listing our own stock and we’re having trouble operating the auction process and continuous trading as an exchange, it became clear to us that investor confidence had eroded,” he said.

Reuters reports that stock exchange was functioning normally on Monday after the glitch on Friday. 

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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