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UPDATE: BATS (BATS) IPO Goes Batty

March 23, 2012 2:01 PM EDT Send to a Friend
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(Updated - March 23, 2012 3:14 PM EDT)

Executives always prepare themselves for the worst case scenario, but executives at BATS (OTC: BATS) could have never imagined what would happen on Friday - the day their IPO was scheduled to debut.

Given that it is a popular alternative stock exchange provider, BATS made the decision to bypass the NYSE and NASDAQ and bring their stock public on their own exchange. This seemed feasible since millions of shares of public companies trade on their exchange every day. In fact, the company is the third largest U.S. exchange. However, the company's systems apparently weren't prepared to handle an IPO, even if it was their own.

Here are the events that happened:

At 10:45AM - the IPO for BATS opened $15.25, the stock was halted shortly after amid widespread system issues. On other exchanges, the stock was trading as low as $0.038.

At 10:48 - the BATS system issued an alert saying it is currently investigating system issues trading in symbols ranging A through BF.

At 10:57AM - a bad trade on BATS triggered a trading halt for NASDAQ-traded Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL).

At 11:07AM - BATS BYX Exchange declared self-help against BATS BZX per Rule 611 of Regulation NMS. Routing to BATS BZX was suspended as of 11:07:04 ET.

By noon, BATS said it had all the trading issues resolved and they canceled all open orders in symbol range A - BFZZZ at 12:40. Trading in these stocks resumed at 12:50ET. However, the company's own stock remained halted.

After scheduling the resumption in trading in their own stock for 1:20PM ET, the company decided that they were further delaying the open. Shares remain halted and may not return today.

The errors the company experienced in handling its own IPO could have widespread implications. Clients of the company could lose faith in the exchange. It is also in the realm of possibility that IPO investors that bought at $16 could want a re-pricing of the shares.

The SEC is already investigating today's BATS problems.

UPDATE: BATS has confirmed the company's symbol will not trade Friday.




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