Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and French businessman Bernard Arnault are investing a combined total of $300 million in the privately held Internet brokerage firm Datek Online Holdings.
Datek online confirmed that Allen's company, Vulcan Ventures, will lead the cash investment in participation with Arnault's private holding company, Arnault Group which controls LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, and venture capital company TA Associates. It is one of the largest private equity investments in a technology company ever recorded.
Group Arnault has emerged as one of the most active Internet and ecommerce financiers. Recent investments include I-collector, the online auctioneer, and BOO.com, the online sports and active-wear retailer.
"This is a transformative event for our firm that will have profound financial and strategic benefits," said Edward Nicoll, president of Datek Online Holdings. "The investment will enable us to realize the significant opportunities that exist in the online space today."
Datek Online said that Vulcan, Group Arnault and TA Associates would together hold a minority stake in his company, but other terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Founded in 1996, Datek Online is one of the fastest growing online brokers. Customer accounts grew 35 per cent in the first quarter this year to 205,109.
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