The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is an American company founded in 2000 to purchase and operate global exchanges and clearing houses.
Founded in 2000 by Jeffrey C. Sprecher, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is one of the biggest owners and operators of exchanges for both financial and commodity markets. Mr. Sprecher is also a member of the board of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In order to be created, ICE was backed by huge multinational companies like Total, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Bank.
Initially, ICE focused on offering to trade in companies dealing with energy products like crude oil, natural gas, and emissions, soon its activities diversified. One of the main goals for ICE was to provide a better trading environment through increased price transparency, efficiency, liquidity, and lower costs.
Since its inception in 2000, ICE has grown to become a household name among the trading and stock community. By 2010, the company had cleared more than $10 trillion in credit default swaps.
One of the main factors for this speedy development is ICE’s approach towards acquisitions. The company has taken a strong stance in its growth strategy that acquisition of relevant other companies and exchanges is the way to go. In 2001, ICE expanded its reach to the British market by purchasing the London-based International Petroleum Exchange (IPE). In 2005, ICE became a publicly listed company and quickly entered the Russell 1000 Index. Since then, the company has gone through more than 15 successful mergers and acquisitions campaigns.
In 2018, ICE announced that it would establish a subsidiary specifically dedicated to cryptocurrency trading and futures contracts based on Bitcoin. The new company, called Bakkt, offers a wide array of functionalities, all revolving around cryptocurrencies. Bakkt users can benefit from a dedicated digital wallet, and buy, sell, trade, and exchange various crypto tokens. Thanks to ICE’s established position in the stocks markets and the industry in general, Bakkt managed to secure an impressive US$182.5 million during the initial funding round. Some of the main investors include Boston Consulting Group, Microsoft, and Pantera Capital.
In 2021, Bakkt announced that it would become a publicly traded company thanks to a successful merger with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings. The new company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the name Bakkt Holdings, Inc, and ICE will retain a 65% economic interest over the entity.