Intercontinental Exchange, the operator of the New York Stock Exchange and owner of digital asset platform Bakkt, sold its 1.4% stake to cryptocurrency company Coinbase, recently listed on the Nasdaq.

ICE CFO Scott Hill on Thursday announced first-quarter 2021 earnings news, noting that the company sold its Coinbase stake for $ 1.2 billion. The administration indicated that the net sale amounted to nearly $ 900 million after taxes.

Hill said the proceeds were used to reduce ICE’s debt at the end of the first quarter. He noted that the company’s official impact, or total debt ratio, would have been around 3.6 times, up from 4.2 times when ICE acquired software company Ellie Mae in September 2020.

“We are definitely a bit ahead of schedule and have paid off our debts faster than we expected when we started the agreement. I mean, I mean we did that before Coinbase was sold,” added ICE’s new CFO Warren Gardiner. He emphasized that Coinbase’s revenue gave the company “a little extra flexibility” as ICE moved into the rest of the year. “We have decreased to about 3.6 leverage, and the target is 3.25, after which we can start thinking about buying back shares,” he noted.

ICE’s decision to sell Coinbase shares is due to a company that posted record revenues of $ 1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2021, a 4% increase over the previous year. “First-quarter earnings, operating income, adjusted net income and adjusted earnings per share were the best in the company’s history,” said Gardiner. He said while ICE’s total transaction revenue was down slightly from a year ago, total recurring revenue increased by 9%.

As previously reported, ICE’s digital real estate trading platform, Bakkt, will be announced on the New York Stock Exchange in the second quarter of 2021 through its merger with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings.

Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the United States, was listed on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange on April 14 with a direct listing of its COIN shares. The stock opened at $ 381, indicating an increase in institutional demand as the pre-listing target price for the stock was only $ 250. Coinbase shares closed at $ 294 on Thursday after a gradual post-listing decline, according to TradingView.

The share price of COIN is fixed. Source: TradingView
As Cointelegraph previously reported, several COIN investors, including Coinbase executives, sold $ 5 billion worth of COIN shares shortly after the listing. The impressive sales included the sale of Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and the sale of approximately 750,000 shares for a total value of approximately $ 292 million.