Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Ameritrade acquires Datek

The Associated Press

        OMAHA, Neb. — Ameritrade Holding Corp. is buying Datek Online Holdings Corp. for $1.29 billion in stock in a deal that creates the nation's largest online brokerage house in terms of equity trades, the companies said.

        When the purchase is complete, Omaha-based Ameritrade will have 2.7 million accounts and 164,000 trades a day. Ameritrade said Monday that the company will have annual revenues of $800 million.

        “Through this merger, Ameritrade reinforces our commitment to providing optimum customization and choice at a tremendous value for clients,” said Joe Moglia, chief executive of Ameritrade, who will have the same position at the new company.

        During a conference call Monday, Mr. Moglia said Omaha will be the headquarters of the merged company. The board of directors will include three members each from Ameritrade and Datek and three independent representatives.

        Datek CEO Ed Nicoll said his role in the new company has not been identified, but Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts said it will be in some part of the senior management team.

        The Datek deal follows several smaller acquisitions in the online brokerage industry, which took off in the late 1990s amid soaring stock prices and the growing popularity of the Internet. But it fell on hard times when the Internet bubble burst.

        Mr. Ricketts founded Ameritrade 27 years ago and the company exploded in growth in 1997 when it began offering rates as low as $8 a trade.

        Mr. Moglia said the merger's effect on employees will be discussed before public comment.


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