MENLO PARK, Calif. - E-Trade Group Inc., the formerly online-only discount broker that has been adding brick-and-mortar elements, is reportedly attracting some potential suitors.
According to the New York Post, Citigroup Inc., Charles Schwab Corp., and Deutsche Bank AG have being eyeing the company. E-Trade, however, is keeping mum and said it does not comment on rumors. Spokespeople from Citigroup, Schwab, and Deutsche also declined to comment on the report.
However, Greg Smith, an analyst at J.P. Morgan H&Q in San Francisco, said it's quite likely that some potential buyers have paid a visit to E-Trade. The company's stock price has dropped 74% from its 52-week high, and the online brokerage market is ripe for consolidation, Mr. Smith said.
The stock was trading late Thursday at $8.54 a share.
"E-Trade is a valuable franchise that could be even stronger in the hands of a large and more diversified financial service company," he said. However, he declined to speculate on a likely buyer.
Another analyst, who requested anonymity, suggested that Citigroup may be the best fit, given the company's track record at managing separate brands.