EU regulators have given the green light to S&P Global to move forward with its purchase of IHS Markit.
The European Commission announced on Friday that it had granted the two businesses a conditional Phase 1 approval for the US $44bn merger. The regulatory decision moves the firms one step closer to creating a financial data powerhouse that would rival Bloomberg and Refinitiv.
To secure the approval, S&P committed to divest from several businesses, including its CUSIP issuance and data licensing business, a family of leveraged loan indices, and its leveraged loan market intelligence product.
In May, it also announced it would sell its Oil Price Information Services (OPIS) business and its Coal, Metals and Mining business, citing feedback from UK regulators. In August, News Corp shared its intentions to acquire OPIS from the firms.
In a statement, the European Commission’s executive vice president Margrethe Vestager said: “Without remedies, the merger would have limited customers’ access to some competitive and reliable data which is essential to ensure fairness of physical trades and financial markets. With this conditional approval the problematic overlaps in commodity price assessments, and also in the area of loan identifiers and indices are fully removed, to the benefit of competition.”
The plans to merge S&P and IHS were first announced in November 2020. At the time of its announcement, the deal was the largest corporate merger of 2020.
In an updated statement, the two firms said they anticipate the deal to close in the first quarter of 2022, rather than in the second half of 2021. The deal is still subject to further review by global regulators and antitrust authorities, including in the United States and Canada.
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