Nasdaq CEO boasted of gaining top tech IPO, then lost it to NYSE

Robert Greifeld, President and CEO of Nasdaq.
Melody Hahm | CNBC

Nasdaq Chief Executive Robert Greifeld said in July he was delighted to have snared one of the hottest technology IPOs of the year. There was just one problem—the deal was not in the bag.

That became very apparent on Wednesday when the business technology startup Pure Storage said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would instead be listing on Nasdaq's fierce rival, the New York Stock Exchange.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Greifeld angered Pure Storage's top executives when he prematurely announced that the company was going to list, and that the mandate had gone to Nasdaq. Greifeld made the announcement on Nasdaq's second quarter earnings call.

Greifeld's remark—"And we're also very happy to win Pure Storage a week or so ago"—was made nearly a month before the company announced on Aug. 12 its intention to sell shares to the public.

Nasdaq declined to comment for this story.

It is not clear whether Pure Storage had signed any kind of agreement to list on Nasdaq, but the initial plan, before Greifeld spoke, was to go to Nasdaq, said the source, who declined to be identified.

Pure Storage and NYSE declined to comment.

Share listings are hotly contested by exchanges for the fees and revenue from trading they generate and for the marketing opportunities they provide.

A companys opening day on the exchange is a big publicity event and one high-profile listing can often lead to others.

Pure Storage's IPO will be closely watched because a successful listing of the company, which was valued privately at over $3 billion in April, could encourage other similar technology firms to follow suit.

The company, founded in 2009, makes flash-based storage devices, which are typically much faster than storage that runs on hard disk drives. It competes with larger, established companies such as EMC Corp. and NetApp.

The company has raised over $470 million from venture capital investors including Sutter Hill, Greylock, Redpoint, Index Ventures, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity and Wellington Management.