Ricketts: I Found Out About Schwab Buying TD Ameritrade at Same Time as Public

Nov. 26, 2019, 6:03 p.m. ·

Gov. Pete Ricketts at a Capitol news conference Tuesday (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)

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Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says he found out about the proposed sale of Omaha-based TD Ameritrade to Charles Schwab at the same time as the rest of the public, and is trying to convince Schwab to maintain jobs in the state.

Ricketts answered questions the day after Schwab announced it was buying TD Ameritrade, the successor to Omaha-based Ameritrade founded by the governor’s father, Joe Ricketts. Pete Ricketts was asked when he found out about the potential sale.

“I found out when the public found out,” he replied, referring to a report that circulated Friday, which was confirmed by a news release Monday. Ricketts added that he's talked to Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger and founder Charles Schwab about keeping jobs in Nebraska. TD Ameritrade employs about 2,300 people in Omaha.

The Omaha World-Herald reported Joe Ricketts owns 8.6 percent of TD Ameritrade, which would make his Schwab shares worth $2.5 billion, and calculated an increase of $561 million in his TD Ameritrade stock value compared to last week.

Pete Ricketts says he hasn’t calculated how much he will profit. “I own less than one tenth of one percent of the overall Ameritrade stock and I haven’t calculated what it would be,” he said.

Applying the World Herald’s calculations to one tenth of a percent of the company instead of Joe Ricketts’ 8.6 percent, Pete Ricketts’ stock could be worth up to $29 million, and the increase in his stock value compared to last week would be around $6.5 million. However, the governor said TD Ameritrade stock is worth about the same as it was a month ago.

Ricketts was asked how he balances his duty to protect Nebraskans with his own personal interests in a situation like this.

“It’s all about the folks that we have here in the state. I haven’t been on the board of TD Ameritrade in five years, so I don’t have anything to do with running the aspect of the company. For me it’s all about the people here in Nebraska and how they’re going to be impacted,” he replied.

Department of Revenue reports show TD Ameritrade has received more than $28 million in three rounds of tax incentives to grow in Nebraska over the last 17 years. While TD Ameritrade's corporate headquarters are in Omaha, Schwab has said it will have its corporate headquarters in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.