Big Data Firms IHS and Markit Announce Merger

IHS believes the deal to acquire U.K.-based Markit won't be affected by U.S. anti-tax inversion rules.
Katie Kuehner-HebertMarch 21, 2016

U.S.-based IHS is combining with U.K.-based Markit in a tax inversion deal that will create a $13 billion data and business research provider headquartered in London.

The companies announced Monday that IHS shareholders will own about 57% of the combined entity after the close of the all-stock deal, which values Markit at about $5.9 billion.

IHS Markit would have more than 50,000 customers. “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,” IHS chief executive Jerre Stead said in a news release.

4 Powerful Communication Strategies for Your Next Board Meeting

4 Powerful Communication Strategies for Your Next Board Meeting

This whitepaper outlines four powerful strategies to amplify board meeting conversations during a time of economic volatility. 

One of the expected benefits of the merger is that IHS Markit’s adjusted effective tax rate is expected to be in the low- to mid-20% range, far lower than the 35% U.S. firms pay.

“Technically, the deal is a tax inversion, where an American company merges with a foreign one to lower its tax bill,” the New York Times said. “However, IHS’s tax rate may not change much; it was about 20.5 percent for the year through November.”

The Obama administration last year cracked down on tax inversions, introducing regulations that made it less profitable for American firms to move overseas.

“We don’t see this transaction as being implicated by the U.S. anti-inversion rules,” IHS Chief Financial Officer Todd Hyatt said on a conference call with analysts.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, IHS “has been on an acquisition spree in recent years, pursuing a growth strategy by snapping up data providers and rival analytics firms.” In 2015 alone, it completed four deals and earlier this year acquired price reporting agency Oil Price Information Service.

Markit, which was founded 13 years ago to provide prices for credit default swaps, now provides pricing information on many different types of securities and creates software to help customers calculate risk.

IHS is paying the equivalent of $31.13 per share for Markit, a premium of 5.6% to Markit’s Friday close. In trading Monday, the stock was up nearly 12%, at $33.