E-Trade to Buy Online Broker OptionsHouse

Brokers, Investing, Investments
ETrade to Buy OptionsHouse

The online broker market continues to consolidate: E-Trade announced Monday that it plans to purchase Aperture New Holdings Inc., the parent company of OptionsHouse, a broker known for its powerful options trading platform and low commissions.

The $725 million cash deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2016. E-Trade says the acquisition would combine OptionsHouse’s “greatly enriched options capabilities” with E-Trade’s large base of active traders.

“We believe options are an important component of an investor’s arsenal, and this deal will intensify our derivatives firepower,” E-Trade CEO Paul Idzik said in a statement about the acquisition. He noted that OptionsHouse customers would benefit from E-Trade’s array of tools oriented toward long-term investing, including the company’s research and educational capabilities.

As for what this means for OptionsHouse customers, who currently benefit from a very low $4.95 trade commission and $0.50 options contract fee, OptionsHouse shared some of that news on its website Monday. In a statement, CEO Michael Curcio reassured investors that the company would remain a separate entity until the transaction closes, and that there would be no change to OptionsHouse’s pricing, trading platform or service in the meantime. E-Trade’s trade commissions are volume based but start at $9.99; options trades are $0.75 per contract.

“After the deal closes, we will integrate the two companies and look forward to introducing you to all of E-Trade’s complementary tools and services, in addition to retaining the top-rated OptionsHouse capabilities you already use,” Curcio wrote. He also noted that clients would benefit from E-Trade’s customer service, including its branch locations.

OptionsHouse merged with tradeMONSTER in 2014 and currently has 154,000 customer accounts and $3.6 billion in customer assets. E-Trade has 3.3 million brokerage accounts and $286 billion in customer assets.

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Arielle O’Shea is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: aoshea@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @arioshea.