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Timeline: Growth of the IntercontinentalExchange

IntercontinentalExchange Inc on Thursday said it would buy New York Stock Exchange owner NYSE Euronext for $8.2 billion.

Atlanta-based ICE operates four regulated futures exchanges, two over-the-counter markets and five clearing houses globally.

Its growth from an small energy exchange since the early 2000s has been influential in the evolution of the derivatives markets since then, paralleling the rise of commodities as a mainstream asset class, the consolidation of the exchange industry, the disappearance of the floor trader with the move to all-electronic trading platforms and the growth of swaps clearing.

The following is a timeline of key events in ICE's history:


IntercontinentalExchange founded.

Seven leading banks and energy concerns launch an online electronic market for trading over-the-counter energy, metals and other commodities. Jeffrey Sprecher, previously president of Atlanta's Continental Power Exchange, the company that developed the trading system to be used by ICE, becomes CEO.


ICE acquires London-based International Petroleum Exchange.


ICE launches industry's first cleared over-the-counter energy contracts.


ICE goes public; begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange. It also transitions to electronic energy futures trade.


ICE launches a West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude contract, competing with CME Group's light sweet crude contract and its benchmark WTI.


ICE completes the acquisition of New York Board of Trade, to be renamed ICE Futures U.S. It makes an unsuccessful unsolicited offer for CBOT Holdings Inc, eventually losing out to Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc.

CEO Sprecher says ICE is open to buying out a rival or being bought out. "You're in a consolidating industry," Sprecher tells Reuters.


In February, ICE ends open outcry on all futures contracts formerly traded at NYBOT.

In June, it announces acquisition of credit default swaps (CDS) processor Creditex, and launches CDS swaps clearing in the U.S. and Europe.


ICE acquires the Clearing Corporation.


ICE acquires the Climate Exchange.


In October, ICE closes option pits in New York, silencing 142 years of open outcry.

In December, ICE announces an $8.2 billion deal to acquire NSYE Euronext.

(Reporting by Robert Gibbons and Phil Wahba; Editing by Andrew Hay, Alden Bentley and Steve Orlofsky)