Patagon.com Buys KeyTrade Online

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (06/27/2000) - Patagon.com International Ltd., a financial services site created to serve Latin America, continued its global expansion by entering the U.S. market with the acquisition of KeyTrade Online on Monday.

Patagon.com, which offers online financial services and information in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, México, Chile and Venezuela, didn't disclose how much it paid for KeyTrade, an online discount brokerage firm based in the U.S.

With this acquisition, Patagon.com becomes a player in the U.S. online financial services market and continues an aggressive global expansion that would have been hard to predict when the company was founded in 1997 in Argentina.

While many Internet startups are dropping dead of cash starvation, Patagon.com eluded that fate by raising more than US$60 million in financing from the likes of J.P. Morgan Capital, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and General Electric Capital in 1999 and selling a 75 percent stake to Spain's Banco Santander Central Hispano in March. That deal, which was valued originally at $525 million but has since been restated at $585 million by the companies, made Patagon.com the Internet arm of Banco Santander. [See "Santander Buys Stake in Patagon.com for $525M," March 10.] The U.S. market for online financial services is much more mature and much larger than the market in Latin America, where only 10.6 million people had Internet access in 1999, according to Jupiter Communications Inc. However, Latin America, whose population is estimated at about 500 million people, holds the promise of fast and significant growth in the coming years.

Patagon.com, based in Miami, can be reached at http://www.patagon.com/.

KeyTrade's Web site, athttp://www.keytradeonline.com/, is already rerouting users to the Patagon.com site. KeyTrade is based in Great River, New York.

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