E*TRADE FINANCIAL Corporation (NYSE: ET) today announced that the Company has increased its equity stake in E*TRADE Korea Co., Ltd., while renegotiating its licensing agreement to better serve both parties.
The agreement advances E*TRADE FINANCIAL's international partnership strategy - which includes branded operations in nine international locations including E*TRADE Australia and E*TRADE Japan. Following the transaction, E*TRADE FINANCIAL's holding in E*TRADE Korea will increase from 10% to 13%. The deal was effective Friday, June 11.
Under the prior licensing arrangement, E*TRADE FINANCIAL had the obligation to develop software, provide hardware and maintain the E*TRADE Korea website. Under the new agreement, the Company will transfer those obligations to E*TRADE Korea. E*TRADE FINANCIAL will continue to retain and own the licensed marks, domain names, technology and all proprietary rights as defined in the agreement.
"We are confident in E*TRADE Korea's leadership and proven performance, as demonstrated by its operating profitability and status as a leader in Korea," said R. Jarrett Lilien, President and Chief Operating Officer, E*TRADE FINANCIAL Corporation. "Its success over the past five years makes us certain that E*TRADE Korea will continue to thrive and increase the value of our shareholding. Our long-term plans are to list E*TRADE Korea on one of the Korean exchanges."
"Through E*TRADE Korea, individual investors will continue to have access to E*TRADE's world-class set of financial tools," said Dr. Suk-Ryong Lee, Chief Executive Officer of E*TRADE Korea. "As a key player in one of the world's leading financial markets, E*TRADE Korea will continue to fill an important role in E*TRADE FINANCIAL's global cross-border trading network."
Founded in 1999 as Korea's first pure-play online investing firm, E*TRADE Korea offers trading in Korea Stock Exchange (KSE) listed securities, as well as Kosdaq (Korean equivalent of U.S.-based Nasdaq) equities, futures, options, beneficiary certificates and mutual funds. In addition, E*TRADE Korea offers a suite of financial products and services that have made E*TRADE-branded sites leaders in their respective markets, including real-time quotes, market news, account information, investor education, bulletin boards and online help features.