News Release

American Stock Exchange and NASD Agree on Plan to Make Amex an Independent Entity

NASD and the American Stock Exchange® (Amex®)announced today that an agreement has been reached in which NASD will transfer control of the Amex to the Amex Membership Corporation. The agreement is the first of a series of strategic steps for the Amex and enables it to align its cost structure to compete more aggressively in the marketplace.

The agreement will call for NASD to satisfy its remaining contractual obligations stemming from the original 1998 transaction between NASD and Amex. NASD will also provide other financing to strengthen Amex’s balance sheet. Other details were not released. The final agreement is subject to approvals by NASD’s Board of Governors, Amex’s Board of Governors, Amex Membership Corporation’s Board of Governors, vote of the Amex seat holders or their designees and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Amex Membership Corporation said, “This transaction provides for a new, stronger American Stock Exchange that is independent and well capitalized. The combination of our new structure and strategic plan will allow us to lead the marketplace in addressing the option industry’s call to consolidate the liquidity of floor based exchanges.”

NASD stated, “This sale will be an important step in the strategic plans of both NASD and Amex.”