Bats Global Markets has cleared a regulatory hurdle in its proposed merger with Direct Edge Holdings LLC.
The Lenexa-based electronic stock exchange said Wednesday that it got clearance from the Department of Justice regarding any potential antitrust issues.
“We appreciate the thoughtful attention that the Department of Justice gave to this deal,” Joe Ratterman, Bats’ chief executive, said in the statement.
The merger of Bats, the nation’s third-largest exchange, with Direct Edge, the No. 4 player in the industry, still needs approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Bats said it expected the transaction to be completed in the first half of 2014.
The proposed Bats deal with Direct Edge, based in Jersey City, N.J., was announced in August. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the new company will keep Bats’ name and its headquarters in Lenexa.
Combined, the technology-driven stock exchanges would be second in size only to the New York Stock Exchange.
Bats employs 98 of its 164 employees at its headquarters. Others are in New York and London. Direct Edge has about 130 employees at its New Jersey headquarters.