E*Trade has made its first acquisition, scooping up the OptionsLink business of investment bank Hambrecht & Quist LLC, which provides both a web-based and interactive voice order entry system for employee stock option and purchase plan services. OptionsLink currently provides the service to stock plan participants at 79 corporations with a combined 94,00 employees. E*Trade feels the unit is a natural fit into its all electronic trading business model. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but E*Trade reckons it will close in early December. The company says it will account for a portion of the purchase price as a write-off of in-process research and development, resulting in a Q1 1998 charge that won’t exceed $3m. á
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