S&P Global Inc (NYSE:SPGI) has negotiated an all-share takeover of data rival IHS Markit Ltd (NYSE:INFO) in the largest M&A transaction this year so far.

S&P will issue 0.238 shares for each one of IHS Markit, which on completion will give it around 68% of the enlarged company and, with debt, value the deal at around US$44bn.

Data has become a hot property in recent years with the rise in index trading, ETFs and algorithmic-based investing driving an insatiable need for real-time and historic information.

London Stock Exchange PLC (LON:LSE) is currently going through the regulatory process of its planned acquisition of indices and data specialist Refinitiv from private equity group Blackstone and Thomson Reuters for US$27bn.

IHS had a market value of around $37bn based on the close last Friday while S&P Global was worth about US$83bn.

According to Reuters the merger had been under discussion for some months and is expected to complete by the second half of next year assuming it clears any competition hurdles.

S&P Global is best known as a debt rating agency and split from its then parent business McGraw-Hill in 2011.

IHS acquired Markit, which supplies pricing and reference data for derivatives and other financial products, in 2016.

Douglas Peterson, S&P Global’s chief executive will head the enlarged firm with HIS Markit boss to remain as special advisor for a year after the deal closes.

IHS shares rose nearly 6% to US$92.58 in trading before the bell, while S&P Global was up 1% to US$345.

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