BATS: Well, this is awkward

@CNNMoneyInvest March 23, 2012: 4:43 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- BATS Global Markets withdrew its initial public offering Friday after the exchange operator was forced to halt trading in several stocks, including its own, due to "technical issues."

"We believe withdrawing the IPO is the appropriate action to take for our company and our shareholders," said Joe Ratterman, the chief executive of BATS, in a brief statement.

The company has no plans to go public at this time, according to a BATS spokeswoman.

The withdrawal is a black eye for the Kansas City-based operator, which is considered one of the largest platforms for high-frequency computer-driven trading.

While the affected market has reopened, Ratterman did not elaborate on the "technical issues."

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been in contact with BATS "to determine the cause and extent of the incident and steps BATS is taking to remedy the situation," said SEC spokesman John Nester.

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BATS priced its ill-fated IPO late Thursday night, announcing plans to sell 6.3 million shares at a price of $16 per share, which was at the low end of its estimated range.

The stock debuted on the company's own exchange Friday and was halted mid-morning after the price suddenly plunged to 4 cents a share.

After a series of apparent attempts to resume trading, BATS withdrew its IPO after the market closed.

Earlier Friday, shares of Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) were halted after the stock plummeted 9.4%, triggering a so-called circuit breaker. The stock resumed trading after five minutes and was down 0.5% in late afternoon trading.

BATS is the third-largest exchange operator in the United States after NYSE Euronext (NYX, Fortune 500) and the NASDAQ OMX Group (NDAQ), according to the company's investment prospectus.

It operates electronic exchanges for stocks and stock options in Europe and the United States.

At the end of 2011, BATS boasted an 11% share of the U.S. equities market and a 3.1% share of the U.S. equities options market.

"Our principal objective is to make markets better by minimizing inefficiencies and mitigating trade execution risk for market participants," the company writes in its prospectus. "We minimize inefficiencies in part by offering low-cost, rapid, trade execution." To top of page

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