Ameritrade buying Datek for dlrs 1.29 billion in stock

Monday, April 8th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Ameritrade Holding Corp. is buying Datek Online Holdings Corp. for dlrs 1.29 billion in stock in a deal that creates the largest U.S. 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 per day. Ameritrade said Monday the company will have annual revenues of dlrs 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, Moglia said Omaha will serve as 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, only to see a modest recovery in recent months.

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

Moglia said the merger's effect on employees will be discussed with them before there is any public comment.