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Merrill buys BATS Trading stake

KANSAS CITY, Mo. --Alternative trading system BATS Trading Inc. said Wednesday Merrill Lynch & Co. purchased a minority stake in the BATS ECN for an undisclosed sum, joining such investors as Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.

BATS averaged daily volume of 307 million shares in February, touching about 13.3 percent of Nasdaq-listed volume and matching about 9.2 percent. The ECN, which provides direct connections to U.S. broker-dealers, recorded volume of 399.9 million shares on Feb. 27.

The Kansas City-based company said it was founded in June 2005 in response to rapid consolidation in the exchange space, and designed its electronic network to handle high-speed, high-volume, anonymous, algorithmic trading.

Other investors in BATS include Credit Suisse, Getco LLC, Lehman Brothers, Lime Brokerage LLC, Morgan Stanley and Wedbush Inc.