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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Delaware, New York judges clash over control of merger cases, (NYSE: ICE)

A group of lawsuits by shareholders objecting to the sale of the New York Stock Exchange has put state judges in Delaware and New York on a collision course, highlighting a recent boom in a chaotic and sometimes costly type of litigation. Almost as soon as mergers are announced, they are met with legal challenges from shareholders, with similar lawsuits often appearing in two different state courts. The lawsuits usually settle quickly, but nevertheless they have become a growing headache for companies that are being bought out.This proliferation prompted Leo Strine, the chief judge on Delaware's Court of Chancery, to publish a detailed proposal last month for corralling such cases in his court. But as the lawsuits over the New York Stock Exchange sale show, the biggest opposition to his proposal may come not from plaintiffs' attorneys but from other judges.NYSE Euronext announced on Dec. 20 it had agreed to be bought by IntercontinentalExchange Inc for $8.2 billion. NYSE shareholders immediately sued, saying its directors had breached their duties by selling the company too cheaply.The first lawsuit was filed by an individual investor in the Court of Chancery in Delaware, where NYSE is incorporated. Soon afterwards, a union pension fund filed a similar lawsuit in state court in New York, where the NYSE does business. Several more cases were soon filed in each court.

IntercontinentalExchange, Inc. (ICE) is an operator of global futures exchanges, over-the-counter (OTC), markets, derivatives clearing houses and post-trade services. Shares of ICE traded higher by 1.17% or $1.68/share to $145.22. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $117.82 and as high as $143.60. On average, 1167440 shares of ICE exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 2743559.