Briefing

Charles Schwab agrees to buy TD Ameritrade for US$26 billion

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The all-stock transaction will leave TD Bank with a stake of about 13 per cent and a 9.9 per cent voting stake in Schwab. The deal is contingent on approval from antitrust regulators. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Wall Street is largely happy with the deal: TD Ameritrade stock is up over seven per cent in late afternoon trading. From the perspective of a shareholder in either company, there’s a lot to like here. Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade are two of the largest online brokerages. Combined, they’ll hold about 51 per cent of the market, totalling nearly US$2.1 trillion in assets. A deal also means the escalating cost-cutting war—which recently saw both firms eliminate fees on trades—will feature one less player driving down costs. Not everyone is happy here. A number of prominent investment advisers raised concerns Monday that the deal would result in technological issues and decreased customer service quality as the two companies integrate. The biggest potential issue for TD Ameritrade, however, is antitrust regulators. Schwab’s CEO said he wasn’t concerned, but U.S. regulators have grown increasingly assertive in recent years, levelling billions in fines and challenging examining major acquisitions made by everyone from tech giants to pharmaceutical firms.