DEALS: Buying Back The Lost Baby

Buying Back The Lost Baby

For Charles Schwab, it was like a long battle to regain custody of a child. For more than a year he has tried to buy back the highly profitable discount- brokerage firm that he founded in 1971 and sold to BankAmerica for $57 million in 1983. Since then he has continued to run the brokerage, but he has felt shackled by the federal restrictions that come with being part of a bank- holding company.

Last week Schwab, 49, signed an agreement to get his baby back. Having beaten out some 50 other bidders, he will pay $230 million in cash and...