BATS Global Markets and Direct Edge said Monday they have agreed to merge.
Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the first half of 2014, were not disclosed.
BATS CEO Joe Ratterman will remain in the same role and Direct Edge CEO William O'Brien will be named president.
The four U.S. equity exchanges run by BATS and Direct Edge will remain in operation. These include the BATS BZX and BYX Exchanges and the Direct Edge EDGX and EDGA Exchanges.
Mr. Ratterman said "This agreement is an important milestone for the U.S. equities market and other markets around the globe as it will combine two organizations that have been innovative in creating a more competitive marketplace to benefit all investors."
Mr. O'Brien said: "Together, the best of both organizations will work to further improve how the world trades, consumes market data, and accesses capital markets."
The combined company will use the proprietary BATS technology and will be headquartered in the Kansas City, Mo., area with additional offices in Jersey City, N.J., New York and London.
(Read more: A Fast-Paced StockExchange Trips Over Itself)
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—The Associated Press contributed to this report.