NYSE Euronext (NYX) is seeking to capitalize on Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.'s (NDAQ) role in Facebook Inc.'s (FB) bungled offering, renewing efforts to lure more stock listings to its exchange and persuade Nasdaq-listed companies to switch to the Big Board.
A person familiar with the matter said NYSE had sounded out Facebook, exchanging "several emails" with the company, raising the possibility of moving to the Big Board.
NYSE said that there haven't been any discussions with Facebook, "nor do we think a discussion along those lines would be appropriate at this time."
A Nasdaq spokesman declined to comment on the matter.
Share listings are the subject of fierce competition among exchanges and not just for the revenues they bring. Winning the listing of a brand-name company such as Facebook can help burnish an exchange's reputation and is a valuable marketing tool to attract other initial public offerings. Facebook's decision to list on Nasdaq after a tough battle with NYSE was seen as a coup for the electronic exchange, which even changed some of its rules to speed Facebook's inclusion in its benchmark index.
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Facebook's disappointing debut, however, has reignited the "battle of the IPOs" between Nasdaq and NYSE.
Technical problems at Nasdaq forced the exchange to delay Facebook's opening last week and left some investors in the dark for hours over whether their orders to buy and sell shares had been fulfilled.
People familiar with the situation said NYSE plans to make the case to prospective issuers that Nasdaq's reliance on automated markets contributed to Facebook's rocky debut. NYSE's contact with Facebook was reported earlier by Fox Business Network.
Nasdaq is responding to its rival's offensive by putting more effort into poaching companies from the Big Board—and reassuring potential listings clients that Nasdaq's market model is sound, according to people close to their plans.
The exchange said Monday that Western Digital Corp. (WDC), a hard-drive company, would leave NYSE to list on Nasdaq.
"The deals for companies are going to be as sweet as they've ever been," said a person involved in the discussions, referring to listing incentives like promotional efforts and co-branding opportunities with other listed companies.
The Facebook IPO hiccups are "going to require an explanation for any company that's deciding which exchange to list on," said Steve Harrick, a general partner at Institutional Venture Partners, a venture-capital firm in Menlo Park, Calif.
Mr. Harrick said he had talked in recent days with a Nasdaq executive, who sought to explain how the Facebook glitches happened and how Nasdaq had changed its computerized systems so the problems with the Facebook listing won't recur.
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"It's definitely a point in NYSE's favor," said Jillian Miller, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, referring to the rocky Facebook IPO. "When they're out talking to potential issuers, this is probably going to be the first thing they bring up."
For Nasdaq, listings and corporate services contributed $372 million in 2011, about 22% of its total revenue. For NYSE, listings and corporate services brought in $446 million last year, about 17% of revenue.
"We feel our value proposition remains strong," said a spokesman for Nasdaq. "This fight for listings has been a decade-long battle that we're winning through switches, IPOs, and international listings."
NYSE plans to emphasize the role of designated market makers on its New York trading floor, versus Nasdaq's entirely automated markets, according to people familiar with the plans. The human factor in handling share trading became a selling point for NYSE following the May 2010 "flash crash," and the system glitches that blighted Facebook's IPO gives NYSE another chance to underscore the two exchanges' differences.
"For companies it's going to come down to whether you're comfortable using an exchange that doesn't have a human backstop in case something goes wrong," Ms. Miller said.
Nasdaq has cultivated its image as the stock-listing home to several generations of America's most successful technology companies, from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) to Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) to Google Inc. (GOOG) and, now, Facebook.
Other promising tech companies expected to go public in the next year include Palo Alto Networks Inc., Workday Inc., ServiceNow Inc. and Atlassian Inc. And Twitter Inc.'s IPO prospects have already captured IPO investors' imagination.
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For NYSE, the fumble of Facebook's IPO could help the Big Board land its next big tech deal after the listing of online business-review site Yelp Inc. (YELP) in March.
A spokesman for NYSE declined to comment.
"In the short term, if I'm deciding which platform to go with, I'd think twice at this point" before choosing Nasdaq, said Sang Lee, managing partner with Aite Group, a consultancy that researches exchanges.
Some Silicon Valley venture capitalists were adamant that Nasdaq's handling of the Facebook IPO won't affect where they want their start-ups to list.
"The trading glitch the morning of the IPO was embarrassing, but that's the only thing Nasdaq was responsible for," said Mark Siegel, a venture capitalist at Menlo Ventures in Menlo Park, Calif. "The pricing was all in the hands of the company and its bankers."
--Pui-Wing Tam, Shira Ovide and Lynn Cowan contributed to this article.
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