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Schwab Aims for Active Traders

In an effort to benefit from the growing number of active online traders, sector leader Charles Schwab Corp. Wednesday acquired CyBerCorp Inc.

CyBerCorp provides a number of Internet-based tools and services for active online investors. Schwab will exchange 13.7 million shares for all outstanding CyBerCorp equity in a deal valued at $488 million. The deal has already been approved by both companies' boards and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter.

Philip Berber, founder of Austin, Texas-based CyBerCorp, will continue with the firm as chairman, while Schwab's Jim Hackley will become chief executive.

David Pottruck, Schwab president and co-chief executive officer, said the acquisition will give investors new technology that has historically been available mainly to institutions.

"It is a trading cockpit for full-time investors who want to view and participate in the market like an institutional trader. By joining with CyBerCorp, we can harness valuable features of this technology for the benefit of Schwab's active retail investors as well as extend its reach to our investment advisor clients and other institutional players," he said.

Schwab also announced a new commission schedule, aimed at reducing trading costs for active investors. Customers with 30 or more qualifying trades per quarter will see their commissions drop $10 to $19.95. Those with 60 or more trades a quarter will pay only $14.95. Customers must also have at least $50,000 in assets with Schwab to qualify for the reductions.