Charles Schwab Corp. said it will acquire the online brokerage optionsXpress Holdings for $1.0 billion.

OptionsXpress stockholders will receive 1.02 shares of Schwab stock for each share of optionsXpress stock. Based on Schwab’s closing stock price as of March 18, 2011, the transaction values each optionsXpress share at $17.91. That in turn translates to a transaction value of $1.0 billion.

Both companies will "initially retain their separate brand identities," Schwab said in a statement.

The deal is expected to close during the third quarter, subject to stockholder approval and regulatory approvals, along with customary closing conditions.

Chicago-based optionsXpress is a pioneer in retail online brokerage services focused on equity options and futures, founded in 2001.

The company supplies investors and traders with trading tools, analytics and education to execute a wide variety of investment strategies.

Schwab operates what it says is the nation’s largest independent brokerage in terms of client assets, which totaled $1.6 trillion as of February 28, 2011. The company was founded in 1973 as one of the original discount brokerages serving independent and active investors.

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