(Bloomberg) — CBOE Holdings' $3.2 billion deal to acquire Bats Global Markets is some of the strongest evidence yet of ETFs' growing importance on Wall Street.

The acquisition, announced Monday by the owner of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, gives CBOE a major player in U.S. and European stock trading. Though regulatory and technological changes have largely diminished profits for stock exchanges, ETFs are breathing new life into the business. Bats handles about a quarter of ETF trading volume in the U.S., giving CBOE a significant beachhead.

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