Red Hat rings NYSE bell

Bells are sounding early for Red Hat this holiday season, but its' not the Christmas type. The Linux specialist has made the jump from the NASDAQ Stock Market to the New York Stock Exchange in what is being touted as a coup for the NYSE and important move for open source.

Red Hat's chief executive officer, Matthew Szulik, was on hand on Tuesday to ring the Exchange bell to announce the beginning of the day's trading and the Linux specialist's arrival.

"Red Hat is pleased to join industry leading, global companies as a member of the NYSE," Szulik said. "Today is a great day for our shareholders, our employees and for the future of open source technology."

The company's shares of common stock began officially trading on the NYSE as of December 12, 2006 under the symbol "RHT". The shares opened at US$16.35. When listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market the shares traded under the name "RHAT".

Red Hat's vice president, investor relations, Dion Cornett, said the lower volatility that many companies experience on the NYSE would mean higher profits for the company's investors, as the expense associated with stock options is reduced.

Although Red Hat had to pay to enlist on the Exchange, NYSE has committed itself to invest far more than Red Hat's enrollment fees on advertising promoting the Linux distributor.

Red Hat joins as the latest technology company to defect from the NASDAQ, in what can be seen as a challenge from the NYSE to position itself as the predominant exchange for technology leaders.

Back in November, when Red Hat announced the intention to move, CFO Charlie Peters, expected the listing on the NYSE to increase Red Hat's visibility among investors, reduce trading volatility and offer more efficient pricing.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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