NYSE-Owner ICE Sold Coinbase Stake for $1.2B

Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE), owner of the New York Stock Exchange, sold its 1.4% stake in newly listed Coinbase earlier this month for $1.2 billion.

Minus tax, the sale of shares in the leading cryptocurrency exchange generated $900 million, ICE Chief Financial Officer Scott Hill said on a first-quarter earnings call Friday. The proceeds were used to pay down debt.

ICE’s incoming CFO, Warren Gardiner, also on the call, said the company is ahead of schedule in paying down debt thanks to the sale of COIN stock in April. 

“When you think about the Coinbase proceeds – that gives us some additional flexibility as we kind of move into the rest of the year,” Gardiner said.

Some early backers collected a lot of money from the direct listing of Coinbase on Nasdaq, which incidentally valued the San Francisco-based crypto exchange higher than ICE. The NYSE participated in Coinbase’s Series C $75 million funding round in January 2015, netting its parent company an extremely healthy return.

Meanwhile, ICE-owned cryptocurrency exchange Bakkt is close to going public, too, around the end of this quarter via a blank check company, which Hill alluded to on the call.

“We expect that Bakkt’s merger with Victory Park Spac will be completed toward the end of this quarter. We expect Q2 adjusted operating expenses to be in the range of $742 million to $752 million, including approximately $35 million of additional expense related to Bakkt,” Hill said.