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RealTime IT News

Australian Bank Makes Another Net in Online Broking

St George Bank has continued the trend of Australian banks investing in Internet stock trading companies, this week striking an equity deal with Bourse Data, a provider of online financial information.

St George will pour AUS$10.01 million (US$6.59 million) into Bourse Data by taking a 13.2 per cent stake. The bank will also have options to increase its stake to 40 per cent by December 2002.

No details were given about which of Bourse Data's services would be integrated with St George's, but again, any deals have been tagged as non-exclusive. The most likely use for Burse Data's information is likely to be offering it to clients of St George's Quicktrade discount broking service, which was set up last year as a cut-down version of HSBC's InvestDirect service.

The deal is strikingly similar to one signed last year by the ANZ Bank, one of the four giant banks in Australia, and E*Trade Australia, the regional subsidiary of the wildly successful Internet stock brokerage firm. In that deal, E*Trade promised up to 40 per cent of its equity in return for a shot at selling to ANZ's four million customers, although the relationship was non-exclusive.

Sausage Software, another Australian Internet company which St George has a small stake in, also has two members on the Bourse Data board, who also have options to buy 30 per cent of the company by the end of 2002. St George bought a six per cent slice of Sausage last year.

Bourse Data jumped 55 cents to AUS$3.45 on Tuesday's trading on the Australian Stock Exchange. Sausage's options were set last month at 60 cents per share, but St George bought in at AUS$2.20.