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E*Trade Nabs Versus

E*Trade Group Inc. Thursday acquired E*Trade Canada license holder Versus Technologies Inc. in a deal valued at nearly $175 million.

Security holders of Versus, a Canadian-based provider of electronic securities trading services for institutional and retail investors, will receive one share of E*Trade Group for each share they own.

Through the acquisition, E*Trade will gain access to the Versus retail and institutional client base, as well as The Versus Network, a scalable proprietary electronic trading platform, which is expected to be incorporated into E*Trade's product offerings worldwide.

The acquisition complements E*Trade's plan to establish a global cross-border trading network for institutional and retail customers worldwide, according to Christos M. Cotsakos, chairman and chief executive officer of E*TRADE Group Inc.

"We believe Versus Technologies will directly contribute to the development of our all-electronic, financial hub, which will ultimately link 20 of the top international equities markets," he said. "Together, we'll now be able to expand our capabilities to empower success for customers not only in Canada but throughout the world."

Canadian institutional investors using The Versus Network represent more than 75 percent of Canadian listed equity under management. The Versus Network supports the equivalent of approximately 13 percent of the average trading volume on The Toronto Stock Exchange.