Australian Bank Makes Another Net in Online Broking

St George
has continued the trend of Australian banks investing in Internet
stock trading companies, this week striking an equity deal with Bourse Data, a provider of
online financial information.

St George will pour AUS$10.01 million (US$6.59 million) into Bourse Data by
taking a 13.2 per cent stake. The bank will also have options to increase
its stake to 40 per cent by December 2002.

No details were given about which of Bourse
Data’s services would be integrated with St George’s, but again, any deals
have been tagged as non-exclusive. The most likely use for Burse Data’s
information is likely to be offering it to clients of St George’s
Quicktrade discount broking service, which was set up last year as a
cut-down version of HSBC’s InvestDirect service.

The deal is strikingly similar to one signed last year by the ANZ Bank, one of the four giant banks in
Australia, and E*Trade Australia,
the regional subsidiary of the wildly successful Internet stock brokerage
firm. In that deal, E*Trade promised up to 40 per cent of its equity in
return for a shot at selling to ANZ’s four million customers, although the
relationship was non-exclusive.

Sausage Software, another
Australian Internet company which St George has a small stake in, also has
two members on the Bourse Data board, who also have options to buy 30 per
cent of the company by the end of 2002. St George bought a six per cent
slice of Sausage last year.

Bourse Data jumped 55 cents to AUS$3.45 on Tuesday’s trading on
the Australian Stock Exchange.
Sausage’s options were set last month at 60 cents per share, but St George
bought in at AUS$2.20.

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