H&R Block Inc. agreed to sell its brokerage business to Ameriprise Financial Inc. for $315 million in cash.

H&R Block Financial Advisors' 900 advisors manage about $30 billion in client assets. The deal is expected to close in four to six months.

"The securities brokerage business increasingly demands size and scale, and HRBFA simply did not have the size to be able to compete at the highest levels in the future," said H&R Block Chairman Richard C. Breeden. He said the sale is part of the company's efforts to focus of its tax-services business

H&R Block in June swung to a fourth quarter profit as its losses in the U.S. housing market eased and the company turned its focus back to its core tax-filing operations.

In the fall, the credit crunch resulting from the subprime-mortgage crisis forced the company to tap its working capital credit lines instead of selling short-term corporate bonds to fund operations. H&R Block announced it was exiting its Option One loan origination activities in December, and it sold its mortgage servicing business April 30.

H&R Block acquired what is now HRBFA in 1999. HRBFA today employs nearly 1,500 associates nationwide, including more than 900 advisors in 135 office locations across the country and support staffs in Kansas City and Detroit.

H&R Block's shares recently traded up 0.6% at $24.85 in after-hours trading from the Tuesday close of $24.70. Ameriprise's shares rose to $42.14 in late trading from the close of $42.14.

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