While the prevailing economic gloom is forcing most companies to rethink their expansion ambitions, online brokerage solution provider iAsia Technology reckons prices are cheap and now is the time to buy. IAsia is paying HK$22.05 million for a 35 per cent stake in CFN Hongkong and HK$6.69 million for 30 per cent of CFN (UK). Both provide online real-time stock quotes, financial news and charts, online trading systems and system integration service. Henry Ko, co-chief executive of Growth Enterprise Market-listed iAsia, said he would consider buying other companies if the price was right and they showed potential. 'If we do not acquire projects now during the [economic] downturn, the price will be higher when the economy starts doing better,' Mr Ko said. He said iAsia would pay for the CNF acquisitions by issuing 41.57 million new shares at 70 HK cents each. The CFN (UK) stake will be sold by London-listed venture capital firms SmartIT.com and enterpriseAsia.com. CFN Hongkong and CFN (UK) are part of CFNasia Holdings. Mr Ko said the new acquisitions were a strategic fit for iAsia and would contribute significantly to revenue growth. IAsia would benefit from economies-of-scale and better deployment of resources in terms of product, services and manpower. It is the latest deal in the online broking industry's continuing consolidation. Mr Ko said iAsia would break even in the first quarter of next year. The Hong Kong-based holding company's shareholders include Chinadotcom chairman Raymond Chien Kuo-fung as well as some investment bankers and brokers. Stanley Ho Hung-sun also has a 10.6 per cent stake. IAsia, with more than 40 clients, has about HK$40 million cash on hand.