Stock Watch: AOL Gains on Schwab Alliance

America Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL) rose 2 3/4 to 50 1/2 Tuesday after the Internet powerhouse announced a financial services alliance with Charles Schwab & Co. (NYSE: SCH), which operates the largest online brokerage. Schwab shares also gained following the news, closing up 1 9/16 at 35 1/8.

The multi-year alliance will bring Schwab’s investment information and advice to AOL’s more than 28 million members, in addition to the millions of people who surf into AOL sites, the companies said.

The two firms plan a series of online and offline promotional programs, including print and broadcast advertisements, and will also cross-promote one another in their own ads.

AOL and CompuServe members and visitors to Netscape.com, AOL Digital City and other America Online brands will find specially tailored versions of the Schwab Web site, including special offers and access to Schwab’s investor education and advice services. Users will have access to Schwab’s online investment tools, interactive courseware and discussion groups, and Schwab executives will appear as guests on live AOL events.

The program will begin in the U.S., and will eventually expand into the Asian and European markets, said Schwab and AOL. The companies will also work to “integrate content across a variety of platforms,” including broadband and wireless.

Schwab president David S. Pottruck said the alliance ties in with his company’s “desire to build a creative, cross-media, global marketing program.”

“Among our current clients, AOL is the most common means of accessing Schwab through the Internet,” said Pottruck, “yet there are literally millions of users of AOL’s brands who have yet to experience our services.”

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