IHS Markit: a challenge to the big two?

The coming together of IHS Markit – a $13 billion all-share deal – is the largest merger to take place among market intelligence companies over the last few years.

The combination and diversity of IHS’s products – energy, financial services, and transportation – will be used to created a financial information hub, a new global information leader, which might challenge the big two: Reuters and Bloomberg.

They will compete by providing data to the financial services industry.

“This merger is such an important milestone for our company, colleagues, customers, shareholders and the entire business information industry,” said Jerre Stead, chairman and chief executive officer of IHS Markit.

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The money IHS Markit will save in cost savings – forecast to be $125 million over three years – means it will be able to purchase further acquisitions to mount a challenge on Reuters and Bloomberg.

This isn’t the only appeal of the merger, as IHS will be allowed to move its corporate tax base to the UK, but it is ‘not’ tax inversion because IHS controls less than 60%. It controls 57%.

IHS has unburdened its corporate tax with this merger.

These mergers allow for US companies to gain a lower tax – estimated at low to mid 20% range in this case – by moving their business overseas.

This type of takeover activity will, according to Robert Willens – a corporate tax and accounting expert – create a “competitive pressure…If you’re in the same industry as a company that’s done one of these, you’ve got a problem if you don’t do one”.

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Mergers like IHS Markit, combining products and services for financial incentives, will become more frequent in what people are calling the seventh wave of rapid merger activity –  in 2015 $4.7 trillion in announced mergers and acquisitions, up 42% from 2014.