E*TRADE Invests in High Tech Companies

Online brokerage E*TRADE Group Inc. said it made a series of strategic investments in high technology companies with which it does business.

“E*TRADE has made a significant commitment to identify and ally with innovative organizations who are leaders in their fields, and who share our vision of providing the consumer with the convenience and control of Internet- based solutions,” said Christos M. Cotsakos, president and chief executive officer of E*TRADE. Financial specifics of the deals were not disclosed.

E*TRADE concluded an agreement with Digital Island, a global IP applications network, and will benefit from continued and expanded use of Digital Island’s distributed-star network. E*TRADE said it is leveraging to distribute its product globally. The agreement includes the use of Digital Island’s fiber network, co-location of E*TRADE cashing servers at Digital Island points of presence and potential software development.

E*TRADE also invested in Critical Path, a provider of outsourced e-mail services and infrastructure for Web portals, Internet service providers (ISPs), Web hosting companies, and corporations. Critical Path becomes the exclusive host of E*TRADE’s Web-based e-mail system.

Also, E*TRADE entered into an exclusive alliance and sponsorship agreement with Third Age Media, producers of ThirdAge.com, a source of content, community and commerce on the Web for active older adults. E*TRADE acquired a minority equity position. E*TRADE said its market research indicates the baby boom generation, the segment representing the bulk of the American population, is an attractive demographic for conversion prospects to online investing.

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