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E*TRADE to Enter European Market

Online investing service provider E*TRADE Group Inc. today announced it signed an agreement to extend its reach to five Central European countries.

Under terms of the agreement, E*TRADE Central Europe, Inc., which is jointly owned by two German financial services companies, the New York Broker Group and the Berliner Freiverkehr Group, will have the right to use E*TRADE's brand, technology, service, and product lines in Germany, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Croatia.

E*TRADE Central Europe said it plans to create subsidiaries for each of the countries under the licensing agreement, beginning with E*TRADE Germany which is scheduled to launch in the Fall of 1998. Subsidiaries in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Croatia will follow later.

The company said the first phase will feature a German language Web site with an interactive graphical interface that will offer investors real-time access to their portfolios.

"This licensing agreement offers E*TRADE the opportunity to extend our brand beyond North America and enter key European markets," said Christos Cotsakos, president and CEO of E*TRADE Group, Inc., in a statement. "Additionally, these agreements have the potential to provide E*TRADE with additional revenue streams that should contribute to both our top and bottom line."

E*TRADE, based in Palo Alto, CA, offers users access to market and investment information, and provides portfolio management tools to track personal holdings.