Financial information giants announce £9bn merger

Financial information giants announce £9bn merger

Two financial information heavyweights are to join forces and base their headquarters in London in a deal worth more than £9bn.

US-based business research giant IHS is to merge with financial information services provider Markit after their board of directors backed the deal.

The firms said the tie-up would be an all-share merger of equals, with the combined business being renamed IHS Markit and holding a base in Englewood, Colorado, alongside an HQ in London. 

IHS employs close to 9,000 people and  provides research to businesses and governments in 140 countries across the world from its HQ in Colorado.

Markit is based in London and commands a workforces of  4,200 staff in 13 countries, providing financial information to banks, hedge funds, asset managers and central banks. 

As part of the deal, IHS shareholders will own about 57% of the combined company, with Markit shareholders owning about 43%. 

It will lead to cost-savings of 125 million US dollars (£87m) by the end of 2019, the companies said. 

Markit's chairman and chief executive Lance Uggla said the deal would create a "global information powerhouse". 

He added: "At the heart of our shared vision is the opportunity to offer our customers a broader and richer content set through both existing and new products that will support their critical decision-making and manage regulatory change.

"The combination will enhance cash flow and enable stronger returns of capital to shareholders."

The new business will have more than 50,000 customers, the companies said. The combined company's annual results for 2015 saw it hit 3.3 billion US dollars (£2.3bn) in revenues and 800 millions US dollars (£556m) in free cash flow.

The merger will see IHS chairman and CEO Jerre Stead retain his roles at the head of the combined company, while Mr Uggla will become president before taking over as chairman and CEO when Mr Stead retires on December 31 next year.

Stead added: "This transformational merger brings together two information-rich companies to create a powerful provider of unique business intelligence, data and analytics to a broad and complementary customer base."

Markit - which competes with financial information providers Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg - was launched in a barn in north London in 2003.