Just a few months after completing the purchase of Beverly Hills, Calif.-based discounter Kennedy Cabot & Co., Toronto Dominion Bank is back in the market trying to strike a deal to acquire discounter Jack White & Co., according to several sources at the Canadian bank.
The negotiations, which are being handled through the bank's key U.S. brokerage entity, Waterhouse Investor Services, have been taking place for several weeks, the sources say.
Toronto Dominion purchased Waterhouse in 1996, and since that acquisition, both Toronto Dominion and Waterhouse officials have stated that further U.S. acquisitions were likely.
"The combination of Waterhouse and White would give us a very powerful presence in the U.S. market," says one Toronto Dominion official.
Although highly rated in many industry surveys for its customer service, and known as a pioneer in the discount business, Jack White & Co. has been somewhat hampered in its expansion efforts because it lacks the deep pockets of many of its competitors.
"They have the product and service but not quite the market stature of many of their better known competitors," says Michael Gazala, a brokerage analyst for Forrester Research in Boston.
The negotiations come at a time when Waterhouse National Bank, a division of Waterhouse Investor Services, received regulatory approval to expand its current status as a limited financial institution. That means the bank will soon be able to offer many retail banking services to its more than one million U.S.-based brokerage customers spread out among its growing discounter operations.