The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW) and optionsXpress Holdings, Inc., (NASDAQ-GS:OXPS) today announced they have signed a definitive agreement under which Schwab will acquire optionsXpress. Under the terms of the agreement, optionsXpress stockholders will receive 1.02 shares of Schwab stock for each share of optionsXpress stock. Based on Schwab’s closing stock price as of March 18, 2011, the transaction values each optionsXpress share at $17.91, resulting in a total transaction value of approximately $1.0 billion. Both companies will initially retain their separate brand identities, while benefitting from significant synergies and capabilities across their complementary business lines. The deal is expected to close during the third quarter, subject to optionsXpress stockholder approval and regulatory approvals, along with customary closing conditions. Launched in 2001 and headquartered in Chicago, optionsXpress is a pioneer in retail online brokerage services focused on equity options and futures. Its innovative brokerage platform provides active investors and traders with trading tools, analytics and education to execute a wide variety of investment strategies. An innovator and technology leader among brokerages, optionsXpress has consistently ranked among the top online brokerages by third party reviewers including 4 out of 5 stars from Barron’s on Usability, Trade Experience, Trading Technology, Range of Offerings, Research Amenities, Portfolio Analysis & Reports, and Customer Service & Education in 2011, the company’s tenth year of recognition for excellence by that publication. It also received The Options Insider's 2010 Broker of the Year Award; and was rated 5 stars (highest) for Trading Tools by SmartMoney in 2009. As of February 28, 2011, optionsXpress had 385,200 client accounts, $8.1 billion in client assets and a 12 month average of 44,800 daily average revenue trades. Schwab operates the nation’s largest independent brokerage in terms of client assets, which totaled $1.6 trillion as of February 28, 2011. The company was founded in 1973 as one of the original discount brokerages serving independent and active investors. Today Schwab serves nearly ten million individual investor, independent registered investment advisor and corporate retirement plan participant accounts with a wide range of financial products and full-service investment help and advice.
optionsXpress Holdings (NYSE:OXPS) is trading at unusually high volume Monday with 4.4 million shares changing hands. It is currently at 4.2 times its average daily volume and trading down 24 cents (-2%).