Reevaluating Brokerage Plans

Online stock quote service Inc. is reconsidering a previously-announced venture with a D.E. Shaw unit to offer online trading.

The company said late Monday the recent sale of D.E. Shaw’s assets to Merrill Lynch & Co. was behind the decision. Freerealtime first announced its plans to add online trading last November. President and Chief Executive Officer Brad Gunn said the company has decided to look for another partner in light of D.E. Shaw’s sale.

“While we are keeping the lines of communication open with D.E. Shaw, management has concluded that because of the (unit’s) sale, we must go elsewhere to access the required back-office systems and technology,” Gunn said.

Gunn said the company is in the process of evaluating several options that will allow it to add online brokerage services.

Freerealtime had previously estimated the online trading venture would generate revenues of $24 million over the three-year venture with D.E. Shaw’s FarSight Financial Services L.P.

Despite the setback, Gunn said adding online brokerage services remains one of the company’s three core strategies.

“We are committed to offering transactions services to our customers. While we are disappointed with this delay, we are pleased with the performance in our two existing popular business components — investment information services and investment management tools,” he said.

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