Lance Uggla
IHS Markit

M&A has always been a hallmark of Markit, the financial information services company Lance Uggla founded in 2003. By the time it went public, in June 2014, London-based Markit was buying businesses at the rate of about three a year. Acquisitions contributed $18.4 million to this year’s first-quarter revenue of $287.8 million. However, the 2015 deals in that accounting — CoreOne Technologies in regulatory reporting and data management, DealHub in foreign exchange processing and Information Mosaic in corporate actions and posttrade software — were mere warm-ups for the blockbuster announced on March 21: a merger of equals with Englewood, Colorado–based data publisher IHS. Chairman and CEO Uggla caught many Markit observers by surprise; IHS is a lesser-known quantity in finance. But that underscores what the 54-year-old is driving at: a melding of Markit’s financial data and technological depth with IHS’s assets and customers across government, energy, transportation and other commercial sectors. The transaction closed on July 12, bringing Markit’s 4,500 employees together with IHS’s 9,000 in a $3.3 billion-in-revenue information powerhouse. London-headquartered IHS Markit will have “a $15 billion-plus market cap, $1 billion free cash flow and 50,000 customers,” including “75 percent of the global 500,” Uggla said before the close. The combination of processing and technological innovation, research and decision support can assist in everything from trading efficiencies to regulatory compliance and “help clients create competitive edges with our content,” says Uggla, who was designated chief integration officer for the merger transition, is serving as president of IHS Markit and will step up to chairman and CEO at the end of next year, when IHS chief Jerre Stead retires. Markit’s offerings, meanwhile, have an increasingly utility, or cooperative, flavor. Such initiatives include due-diligence services KYC.com, the know-your-customer portal that Markit launched jointly with solutions company Genpact in 2014, and KY3P for third-party risk management, introduced last fall and running on Dell Cloud Services. Following the “disrupt yourself” principle, Uggla notes that Markit is actively exploring “how existing processes may be enhanced” by blockchain, notably in a multimonth test of smart contracts for credit-default-swaps processing that teamed Markit with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. and distributed-ledger developer Axoni.

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