48-year-old brokerage firm Charles Schwab confirmed its widely rumored acquisition of TD Ameritrade on Monday, and the news came with the added detail that the combined company's new corporate headquarters will be in Westlake, Texas.
The deal is likely to face antitrust scrutiny given the size of the eventual company represented by the merger — as the Associated Press reports, the combined company will have over $5 trillion in client assets under its management, and 24 million total client accounts. In the "stock swap" merger said to be worth $26 billion, TD Ameritrade shareholders will receive 1.0837 Schwab shares for each TD Ameritrade share they own.
Charles Schwab was founded in 1971 in San Francisco, and in an announcement today the company says it "has maintained a longstanding commitment to the Bay Area, which will continue." They go on to say that "a small percentage of roles may move from San Francisco to Westlake over time," which will happen either through actual relocation of people or through attrition. But the writing has been on the wall for over a year about Schwab's shift in focus toward the Dallas-Fort Worth area — the Westlake campus got its approvals back in October 2018, with space for some 7,000 jobs.
Schwab's current workforce is around 19,000 people, and the company still has offices at 211 Main Street in downtown San Francisco with room for about 2,000 employees, as the Chronicle notes. Founder Charles Schwab himself hinted back in May that he was "not sure" that the company would maintain its headquarters in SF for the long haul. But for now the company says the "vast majority" of roles will remain in SF.
With TD Ameritrade's headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, things perhaps look grimmer. The company's CEO made a surprise exit back in July, and the 2,300 employees at the Omaha offices were nervous last week after the early reports about a pending merger came out, as the Omaha World-Herald reported. [Disclosure: SFist's former parent company Gothamist was briefly owned by TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts in 2017.] TD Ameritrade also has a small presence in the Dallas area, and the Schwab statement said, "This will allow the combined firm to take advantage of the central location of the new Schwab campus [in Texas] to serve as the hub of a network of Schwab branches and operations centers that span the entire U.S. and beyond." A bit ominously, they add, "Any additional real estate decisions will be made over time as part of the integration process."
Schwab is just one of multiple big Bay Area companies to make big investments in Texas and elsewhere in recent years. Major drug distributor McKesson announced its move from SF to Irving, Texas last fall. And just recently we learned that Uber had made a big investment in a Dallas campus, opening what they're calling a "second headquarters" there with room for around 3,000 employees.
As Schwab told the SF Business Times earlier this year, "We’ll continue looking at [relocation] as a possibility as taxes go … and the cost[s] of doing business here are so much higher than some other [places], we’ll have to move there."
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