Updated March 23, 2012
BATS Global Markets canceled its IPO Friday, stunning Wall Street after errors on its own computer systems kept the stock from trading.
Pulling the IPO capped a day of embarrassments for the electronic exchange, beginning just as the shares were making their debut. Data received by Bloomberg around 11 a.m. in New York showed the stock, the first ever listed on its Lenexa, Kan.-based market, quoted at less than a penny after being priced Thursday at $16. Around the same time, a 100-share transaction in Apple Inc. was executed on BATS so far away from the market price that it triggered a halt.
“We believe withdrawing the IPO is the appropriate action to take for our company and our shareholders,” Joe Ratterman, BATS CEO, said in a statement. Asked if that meant BATS is no longer going public, Randy Williams, a company spokesman, replied by e-mail, “Yes, that’s correct.”
BATS priced 6.3 million shares through underwriters Thursday and appeared set to begin trading about 90 minutes into the day when chaos erupted. While the company quoted its shares at $15.25 at 10:45 a.m. EDT on its website, feeds including those sent to Bloomberg displayed different prices. At 11:14 a.m., Bloomberg received data showing 1.26 million shares had traded, with the most recent execution at 3.84 cents and the lowest transaction at 0.02 cent.
Compounding the confusion, a single trade for 100 shares executed on a BATS venue at 10:57 a.m. briefly sent Apple down more than 9% to $542.80, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Two more transactions, which sent the stock back above $598, were made before the halt. The stock stayed around that level once trading resumed five minutes later and the errant trade, along with the BATS transactions, were later canceled.
BATS sent a notice about 10 minutes before the Apple trade saying it was investigating “system issues” affecting companies with ticker symbols ranging between A and BF. Apple’s is AAPL. BATS’ ticker was BATS.