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EO to Acquire EPO.com

[London, ENGLAND] Online share distribution company EO plc announced Wednesday an agreement to acquire EPO.com, a similar European operation that enables individual investors to enter the market for primary equity capital.

Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, although EO says it was an all-share transaction that valued its own shares at £1.50 (US $2.18) each.

As a result of the takeover, the combined business will have a substantially enlarged user base, with 175,000 members -- of whom 85,000 come from EPO.com.

Founded in Sweden in 1998 but headquartered in London, EPO.com has begun to open up the previously restricted market for primary equity capital, participating in over 40 transactions that include stock market listings in both Sweden and the U.K.

John St.John, EO's chief executive, called the deal "a milestone in EO's development" and said it would benefit customers and partners alike.

"The synergies between the two businesses will both increase revenue and minimize costs, allowing us to consolidate our position as Europe's number one player in this rapidly evolving market," said St.John.

Ola Lauritzon, chief executive of EPO.com, added the time was right for the emergence of one clear leader in the market.

The enlarged company will have distribution in the U.K., Sweden, Germany, France, Italy and Finland. In addition, EO's partnership with financial information portal GlobalNetFinancial.com extends its reach potentially into other markets, including the United States, The Netherlands, Spain, and Denmark.

EO has put substantial efforts into building partnerships with portals, online brokers, and banks in order to gain a larger user base. Among its partnerships are those with retail investment sites ADVFN, hemscott.NET and moneyextra.com; online brokers Charles Schwab Europe, Sharepeople, Stockacademy and Stocktrade; and investment banks UBS Warburg and Nobles.

EPO.com's Lauritzson will join the EO board as marketing director.

The deal leaves EO in what it says is a strong financial position, with nearly US $10 million having been raised in July in a "Friends and Family" round of fundraising. A further US $15 million has come from the acquisition of Internet Indirect by EO's founding shareholder NewMedia SPARK.

EO's acquisition of EPO.com is subject to regulatory approval in both Sweden and the U.K.

EO can be found on the Web at www.eo.net.