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GROUP GAUGING SUPPORT FOR NYSE COUNTERBID

A group of seat holders on the New York Stock Exchange, led by former NYSE director Kenneth Langone, are attempting to mount an effort to purchase the Big Board and override the exchange's announced merger with all-electronic marketplace Archipelago Holdings, according to published reports Sunday.

Langone called several executives last week to assess their interest in such a proposal, the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek magazine reported. Many Wall Street insiders are angry with the perceived conflicts in the deal for Goldman Sachs Group, which owns seats on the exchange and has a stake in Chicago-based Archipelago.

Part of their discomfort stems from Goldman Sachs Group involvement in the merger negotiations as an adviser to both Archipelago and the NYSE.