Following a merger agreement that has led to the combined entity of the New York Stock Exchange and the Archipelago Exchange (see MME 04/08/05) as NYSE Group, the NYSE is deciding which stock specialist will be handling its own shares, Reuters reports.

This past Tuesday, NYSE members voted in favor of the deal to buy Archipelago Holdings, and once the deal closes at the end of January, NYSE Group will be a publicly traded firm.

However, before the exchange goes public, it will need to choose a specialist for its own stock. Goldman Sachs Inc., owns Spear, Leeds & Kellogg, one of the seven specialist firms on the floor, and is said to be one of four companies in the final running.

In addition, Goldman played an unusual role in the deal because the firm served as an advisor to both NYSE and Archipelago.

Michael LaBranche of LaBranche & Co told Reuters that a decision has not been made as of yet, but the process would be "like an investment bank trying to get business."

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