S&P Global, the owner of stock indexes like the Dow and the S&P 500, said on Monday that it plans to acquire IHS Markit for $44 billion, including debt. The transaction would create a financial information powerhouse at a time when data increasingly fuels automated trading.
The all-stock deal — the biggest announced so far this year — would give S&P Global control of IHS Markit, whose software is used by many of the world’s biggest financial institutions.
It is the latest show of strength by big companies amid the pandemic. Corporate boards have increasingly come to believe that getting bigger will help them ride out the turbulence caused by the coronavirus, while investors have encouraged companies to use stocks and cheap debt to buy growth.
Other big deals struck so far this year include Nvidia’s $40 billion takeover of the computer chip designer Arm and Aon’s $30 billion acquisition of its rival insurance broker Willis Towers Watson.
Financial data has long been one of the most coveted commodities on Wall Street, as demonstrated by the multibillion-dollar value of Bloomberg L.P., the empire of former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Big deals in recent years have further illustrated its worth: Last year, the parent of the London Stock Exchange agreed to buy Refinitiv, the former data arm of Thomson Reuters, for $14.5 billion.
IHS Markit itself was the product of a 2016 merger between IHS, which was founded in 1959 as a repository for aerospace data, and Markit, which was created in 2003 as a source of price information about the financial derivatives known as credit-default swaps.
Under the terms of the deal, S&P Global will own nearly 68 percent of the combined company, while investors in IHS Markit will own the remainder.
The companies expect the deal to close in the second half of next year, pending approval from shareholders and antitrust regulators.
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