RealTime IT News

T-Online Enters Venture With Commerzbank

Top Germany ISP T-Online International and Commerzbank's online broker Comdirect announced a joint venture Thursday, as well as a stake swap deal said to be worth $1.2 billion for each partner.

The strategic move comes a few days after Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria announced it was going to develop Internet projects with Telefonica.

"With T-Online we can strengthen our authority in Internet banking crucially," said Dr. Norbert Kaesbeck, a member of Commerzbank's executive committee.

"Both the customers of Commerzbank and Comdirect will noticeably profit from it. It is our avowed common target to make co-operation an immediate success for all involved parties," said Kaesbeck.

Earlier this week, T-Online's parent company Deutsche Telekom announced it was merging T-Online with Club Internet, the French ISP operated by media group Lagardère.

The participation of Comdirect will similarly increase the value of T-Online internationally. Comdirect is the leading European online broker with 306,000 clients, a figure that is expected to rise to half a million by the end of this year.

T-Online is planning an IPO in April which will greatly expand its value, estimated by some analysts as high as 30 billion euros (nearly $30 billion). With such a valuation, Comdirect may end up owning a relatively small percentage stake in the ISP.

The news cheered the stock market, with shares in both Commerzbank and Deutsche Telekom making significant gains.