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Aeroflex Leaving NYSE for Nasdaq

February 18, 2000 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ Seeking to compete among its high-technology peers, Aeroflex Inc. is making the unprecedented move of shifting its publicly traded stock from the New York Stock Exchange to the computerized Nasdaq Stock Market.

Companies often move from the Nasdaq to the NYSE as they grow in size and value. For example, Qwest Communications International, a Denver-based telecommunications company, jumped to the NYSE earlier this year.

But no company has ever left the Big Board for the Nasdaq.

The move reflects the shifting attitude of U.S. investors, who have become increasingly infatuated with the growth potential of small tech-sector companies, many of which are listed on Nasdaq.

Demand for those stocks fueled an unprecedented 86 percent rise in the Nasdaq composite index in 1999.

Aeroflex President Michael Gorin said at a news conference in Manhattan Thursday that the shift was made to capture the extraordinary valuations currently afforded many Nasdaq listed tech companies and to boost Aeroflex’s exposure.

All of Aeroflex’s peers _ both in size and business model _ are listed on the Nasdaq, Gorin said.

A typical NYSE listed company is currently worth about $5.3 billion. The typical Nasdaq listed company is much smaller.

Aeroflex, of Plainview, N.Y., makes parts for high-tech communications systems and has a stock market valuation of about $750 million. It first listed on the NYSE in 1983.

``In 1983, the Nasdaq market was ‘the other market.’ Nasdaq is now at least on a comparable plain with the NYSE. If we thought otherwise, we wouldn’t have made the change,″ Gorin said.

Aeroflex shares will begin trading on the Nasdaq on March 21 under the symbol ARXX.

Nasdaq spokesman Scott Peterson predicted that other NYSE-listed tech companies will follow Aeroflex to the Nasdaq, but he declined to provide examples.

NYSE spokesman Ray Pellecchia said the exchange doesn’t think the Aeroflex move represents the start of a trend. Thirty companies have jumped to the NYSE in the last six months, according to Pellecchia _ 21 from the Nasdaq and nine from the American Stock Exchange, which merged last year with the Nasdaq, .

Frank Zarb, chairman of the National Association of Securities Dealers, which overseas the Nasdaq market, said high-profile moves by tech companies from the NYSE to the Nasdaq will add value to the Nasdaq as it prepares for its own shift to a for-profit company, a move expected by midyear.