ING Direct buys US online brokerage Sharebuilder

ING Direct buys US online brokerage Sharebuilder

ING Direct, the Internet banking business of Dutch group ING, is extending its reach in the North American market by acquiring US online equity brokerage Sharebuilder for $220 million.

Under the terms of the agreement ING Direct USA - the largest direct bank in the US - will acquire 100% of Seattle-based ShareBuilder Corporation's outstanding equity-related interests in a deal that is expected to complete by the end of the year.

ING Direct says the acquisition will complement its US business and the transaction "will add cost-effective investment options to ING Direct's consumer product offerings". Like ING Direct USA, ShareBuilder targets early stage investors through a limited set of investment products including stocks, exchange traded funds, options and automatic investment plans.

"Sharebuilder's online brokerage business will provide ING Direct customers with a low-cost, easy-to-understand tool to invest on a regular basis," says Arkadi Kuhlmann, president and CEO of ING Direct USA.

ING Direct says it will absorb ShareBuilder's 661,000 customers, helping it reach its 20 millionth customer worldwide.

ING Group says the deal is equivalent to 27 basis points of the group's debt equity ratio.

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