* Exchange operator combines its global data and index businesses
* Follows merging of software and market technology units earlier in Jan
* Nasdaq's shares at 52-week high
By John McCrank
Jan 29 Nasdaq OMX Group Inc said on Tuesday it was combining its global data and index businesses as the trans-Atlantic exchange operator continues to reposition itself to be a bigger player in technology services, a move aimed at boosting non-transaction-based revenues.
John Jacobs will head the new global information services unit, which Nasdaq said will enable it to increase sales through a clearer focus on new product development. Jacobs was formerly Nasdaq's head of indexing and chief marketing officer.
"Combining these business areas allows us to better take advantage of the sweet spot they inherently both share: distribution of data and the delivery of innovative products that provide market insight and transparency," Bob Greifeld, Nasdaq's chief executive, said in a statement.
He said Nasdaq's goal is to become one of the top information providers in the global financial services industry. Competitors in that area include SunGard and Fidessa.
Boosting relatively stable technology- and information-based revenues has become more of a focus in the exchange industry as equity trading volumes hover around multi-year lows.
Nasdaq, which reports its fourth quarter results on Thursday, said the global information services unit will represent around 20 percent of the company's total annual revenues. For 2011, not including transaction rebates, brokerage, clearance and exchange fees, Nasdaq had $1.69 billion in revenues.
Earlier in January, Nasdaq said it would combine its software and market technology units into a business that will generate more than $500 million in annual revenue.
The catalyst for the new software-based segment was Nasdaq's acquisition of Thomson Reuters Corp's investor relations, public relations and multimedia services units for $390 million in December.
Nasdaq put Anna Ewing, who headed the New York-based company's technology business, in charge of that unit, and appointed Bradley Peterson as global chief information officer, effective Feb. 6.
Nasdaq's historical and real-time market data currently reaches 2.5 million financial professionals and individual investors in 83 countries.
The exchange operator said it has around 7,000 products based on Nasdaq indexes.
The "combined business unit will enable us to leverage the recent technology investments and improvements we have made in these areas to deliver more data and indexes faster, across more asset classes, and at lower cost than ever before," Jacobs said in statement.
As part of the transition, Nasdaq named Jeremy Skule, formerly head of global marketing and communications, to the position of chief marketing officer, reporting directly to Greifeld.
Nasdaq's shares were up 0.5 percent at a 52-week high of $27.91 on Tuesday afternoon.
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