NEW YORK (Reuters) - The London Stock Exchange Group PLC (LSE.L), which last week agreed to buy Citigroup Inc's (C.N) Yield Book fixed-income analytics and indexing business for $685 million, is looking for similar deals, LSE's chief financial officer said on Thursday.
The Yield Book acquisition, when closed, will boost the size and capabilities of LSE's FTSE Russell indexes business, bringing the amount of assets under management benchmarked to its indexes to around $15 trillion.
Trends such as the ongoing shift in investment style to passive from active and the desire by investors to get more exposure to emerging markets, particularly China, make index businesses attractive, LSE CFO David Warren said at the Sandler O’Neill Global Exchange and Brokerage Conference in New York.
With nationalistic and regulatory factors making big cross-border exchange deals difficult to get done, as seen in the collapse of LSE's merger with Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1Gn.DE) in March, exchanges have been looking to index and data deals to help them grow.
Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE.N) said last Thursday it reached an agreement to acquire Bank of America Merrill Lynch's (BAC.N) global research index platform for an undisclosed amount. Deutsche Boerse on Wednesday said it too is on the lookout for deals in the space.
As a result, a number of banks that have developed analytics and index businesses using intellectual property (IP) from their internal trading operations are looking to monetize those businesses, Warren said.
"We come into it obviously seeing that the IP in terms of index creation has been undervalued, so that is really the opportunity," he said.
Exchanges increasingly see themselves as financial markets infrastructure providers with global distribution networks, rather than just trading venues, Warren said.
Index and analytics businesses provide exchanges with the intellectual property to create investment products that are in demand from global asset managers, he said.
"So there is a lot of investment in the business right now, but there is also still a lot of work we are doing to look at acquisition opportunities."
Editing by Bernadette Baum