World Economy

Online Brokerages to Merge

Online Brokerages to MergeOnline Brokerages to Merge

TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. and its largest stakeholder, Toronto-Dominion Bank, are close to a deal to buy online brokerage Scottrade Financial Services Inc. for $4 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

TD Ameritrade would acquire Scottrade’s brokerage operations for about $2.7 billion in cash and stock, while Toronto-Dominion would purchase Scottrade’s banking operations for $1.3 billion in cash, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks aren’t public. The takeover may be announced as soon as Monday before markets open in North America, the people said, Bloomberg reported.

The transaction would combine two of the largest online brokerages, an industry under pressure from lower trading volumes and sluggish revenue growth. Such platforms are used by consumers, wealth advisers and other investors to trade securities outside of traditional brokerages. Bloomberg reported last month that Scottrade, based in Town & Country, Missouri, was working with an adviser to explore a sale. The St. Louis Business Journal reported the pending agreement on Saturday.

The acquisition of Scottrade extends a flurry of consolidation in the industry. In a $725 million cash deal last month, E*Trade Financial Corp. bought Aperture New Holdings Inc., parent company of the futures and options trading platform OptionsHouse. Meanwhile, Ally Financial Inc. bought TradeKing Group Inc. for about $275 million in June.

Toronto-Dominion, Canada’s second-biggest bank by assets, owns about 42% of TD Ameritrade, qualifying it as a non-bank subsidiary under US regulations. TD Ameritrade has a market value of $19.5 billion. Closely held Scottrade had $1.04 billion of revenue in 2015, Wells Fargo & Co. analysts led by Christopher Harris wrote in a report this month.

The brokerages have been squeezed in recent years amid competition from automated investment systems known as robo-advisers and a shift away from stock-picking and day-trading toward passive vehicles.


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