The New York Stock Exchange has agreed to buy the
American Stock Exchange, ending a once intense rivalry that began in colonial times when brokers traded in outdoor markets.

NYSE Euronext said it would pay AMEX's seatholders, which are generally members that trade at the exchange, $260 million in stock.

They will also receive more stock after the sale of the AMEX's
building on 86 Trinity Place — a landmark art deco building it moved into in 1921 and that sits only blocks away from the World Trade Center site.

Both exchanges have battled for corporate listings and bragging rights since the early 1900s, with their trading floors just a short walk away from each other in Lower Manhattan.

They were the two dominant U.S. markets until investors began paying more attention in the 1990s to technology issues on the upstart Nasdaq Stock Market.

Their evolution took a very different path — with the Big Board forming NYSE Euronext to become the world's first transatlantic exchange. The AMEX, unable to compete like it once did, began to focus on trading options and other financial products.

The deal comes as stock markets around the world are being snapped up by larger players or merging to take advantage of economies of scale and technological changes.

Last month, the TSX Group and the Montreal Exchange announced they would merge.