The Hustle

The biggest deal of 2020: A $44B exchange between 2 data giants

S&P Global’s $44B acquisition of IHS Markit is the latest big move in the market data space.


December 1, 2020

British mathematician Clive Humby is credited with coining the phrase “data is the new oil.”

Often lost in the catchiness of this idea is Humby’s further explanation that “although inherently valuable, data needs processing, just as oil needs refining before its true value can be unlocked.”

The value of “unlocking” data was made abundantly clear yesterday when S&P Global announced a $44B all-stock deal for IHS Markit.

These are 2 of the biggest data providers on Wall Street

S&P’s corporate history dates back to the 1860s, when the company kept tabs on railroad data.

Today, S&P operates 3 primary businesses: 1) bond ratings; 2) stock indexing (including the ubiquitous S&P 500); and 3) data analytics (CapIQ, Platts).

IHS Markit — which was formed by the merger of 2 smaller firms in 2016 — is known for its credit derivatives data as well as energy and transportation data.

The market data industry is exploding

… with its biggest vendors now finance’s kingmakers.

The London Stock Exchange is looking to close a $27B deal for S&P competitor Refinitiv while the privately held Bloomberg — Wall St.’s OG data firm — could be worth ~$60B.

S&P Global itself has seen its market value increase 10x to $85B over the past decade.

If data is the new oil, then the refiners are getting their hands on the cheddar.

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