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CNBC Exclusive: TD Ameritrade CEO Says Broker Will Consider Merger

CNBC.com
Wednesday, 6 Jun 2007 | 10:24 AM ET

In an exclusive interview with CNBC, Joe Moglia, CEO of TD Ameritrade, said his company will consider merging with a competitor but won't rush into any agreement.

“You should assume that we’ve been talking to people in the industry all along and we would continue to do that,” Moglia said.

TD Ameritrade CEO
Hedge funds are pushing the company to merge, with Joe Moglia, TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. CEO and CNBC's Joe Kernen

Moglia's comments came a day after two hedge funds took an 8.4% stake in TD Ameritrade and sent the online brokerage a letter urging it to merge with one of its competitors, according to a regulatory filing.

"Based on our due diligence, we believe that TD Ameritrade can dramatically increase long-term shareholder value through a combination with E*Trade Financial ("E*Trade") or Charles Schwab ("Schwab")," said the letter from SAC Capital and Jana Partners.

But Moglia cautioned that his company will move slowly on any proposal.

“I think it’s important to understand how complex something like this is,” Moglia said. “This is not just a matter of announcing a deal and getting a pop in the stock price. It’s the ability to be able to deliver long-term shareholder value at the end of an integration. That part is very complex. Consequently, our board has always done what they believe is in the best long-term interest of shareholder value. I have no doubt we will continue to do that, but you need to be very thoughtful and deliberate with something that has this type of risk associated with it.”

The hedge funds added that they believe representatives of Toronto-Dominion Bank on TD Ameritrade's board may be thwarting such a merger because the bank "views its significant ownership and influence on (TD Ameritrade) as being critical to its U.S. strategy."

TD Ameritrade noted in the filing that its board has formed a mergers and acquisitions committee that includes three outside independent directors.

After closing at $19.95 during regular market hours Tuesday, TD Ameritrade shares rose more than 6% in post-market trade.

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