Monday, December 05, 2005

Moglia Trumpets TD Buy, Cash Dividend

Forbes, Greg Levine, 5 December 2005

Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar--Moglia?

Like the three Biblical kings, Ameritrade Holding Chief Executive Joseph Moglia has gifts to bring--after his merger triumph is cemented.

Ameritrade Holding, which furnishes securities brokerage via Internet, wireless and other technological means, announced Monday that it's come to terms with TD Waterhouse. The latter is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canada-based Toronto-Dominion Bank, and the north-of-the-border financial services provider has agreed to sell its Yank arm, TD Waterhouse USA, to Moglia's firm.

Moglia has likely thrown down a gauntlet to Internet-trading rival E*Trade Financial, which once launched a takeover bid for Ameritrade.

In a statement, the CEO declared that "this is the right deal for Ameritrade right now." He depicted his company and its acquisition target as "two highly complementary franchises." He said the "definitive agreement" fusing the firms will "create the largest online retail broker" by the metric of "the average number of retail equity trades per day."

The CEO also had one more thing to announce: a special cash dividend of $6, payable at the close of the deal around Jan. 24. "Shareholders will receive one of the largest one-time cash dividends in recent history on Wall Street," he said. Boxing Day is Jan. 6, but it seems Moglia is delivering to shareholders a bit later.