Today it was announced that full service brokerage Charles Schwab (SCHW) is acquiring optionsXpress (OXPS) in an all stock transaction valued at approximately 12x earnings* or roughly $1 billion.  This will combine the world’s largest broker (based on client assets) with an options & futures focused brokerage, providing all clients with a slew of new overall benefits. With how popular options trading has become over the past several quarters, it’s no surprise that this strategic acquisition will assist in attracting new investors. Pending legal approval, the deal should be completed in Q3 of 2011.

It also appears that Forex trading will be available in the new “Center of Excellence” which is something neither broker currently offers to clients at this time. The two firms will remain independent on the surface, similar to when TD Ameritrade acquired thinkorswim. “We will continue to deliver our powerful, yet easy-to-use options and futures trading technology combined with the customer service you love. All aspects of your relationship with optionsXpress, from customer service telephone numbers and the optionsXpress team, to the web site, remain the same”, CEO David Fisher wrote in an email today to current clients.

*Source: Bloomberg Article