Internet brokerage E*Trade said today it has purchased Versus
Technologies, a Canadian online trading service, for $174 million in
The deal gives the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company access to Versus' retail and institutional clients.
E*Trade also acquires the Versus Network, a proprietary electronic trading
system that E*Trade will incorporate into its services worldwide.
Online brokerages have been rushing to establish an international presence with
expectations that online trading will grow overseas. Ameritrade,
E*Trade, Charles Schwab and others have been cutting deals and forming
partnerships with regional players in numerous countries.
Earlier this year, E*Trade took 100 percent ownership of E*Trade U.K. as part of its plans for a global trading network. E*Trade has
also formed strategic joint ventures in Germany, Denmark, Norway and South
Last August, E*Trade also bought TIR Holdings, an
international services company that executes trades in different currencies in more than 35 countries. That acquisition gave E*Trade the operational and regulatory infrastructure necessary for global trading.
With today's transaction, Versus will return the Canadian E*Trade brand
license to E*Trade, giving the American brokerage the opportunity to
tap the potential growth of the Canadian retail market.
Canada is ranked among the top four countries in the world in terms of
Internet use, the company said. Canadian online financial services are
predicted to grow at a 36 percent compound annual growth rate through 2003,
according to Forrester Research.
Versus will be renamed E*Trade Canada and will operate as a wholly-owned
subsidiary of E*Trade. The agreement is subject to approval by Versus security holders and by Canadian and U.S. regulators.