LONDON — American Express Co. plans to buy Sharepeople Group PLC, a leading online brokerage in Britain, the companies announced Friday.

The deal, which is contingent on approval from British regulators and Sharepeople’s shareholders, would give American Express an entry into the online brokerage business in Britain. American Express Brokerage, which Amex introduced in the United States in October 1999, has become the nation’s sixth-largest online brokerage in accounts and assets, according to the company.

American Express said it would pay about $44 million for the brokerage, which would be renamed American Express Sharepeople.

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