Reuters – Temasek In Talks for Stake in Markit Group

Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd is in talks to buy a stake worth around $500 million in London-based financial data provider Markit Group, Reuters reported.

(Reuters) – Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd is in talks to buy a stake worth around $500 million in London-based financial data provider Markit Group, a source familiar with the deal said.

If talks are a successful, a deal could happen over the next “few months”, the source told Reuters. He declined to be identified because the talks are not public.

Temasek has in the past made money by investing in companies before they are listed and this investment follows the same pattern, the source said, hinting that Markit Group may eventually sell shares to the public.

Temasek will likely buy the stake from financial institutions that already own part of Markit Group, the source said.

There has been speculation in the British press that Markit may decide to list on the stock market. However the Financial Times quoted officials there as saying they have not made any decision to pursue a public listing.

Markit Group began life in 2001, working out of a barn in St. Alban’s, a commuter town 20 miles north of London. Founded by Canadian Lance Uggla, the group provides financial data and trade processing services, primarily for the credit market.

Temasek, which manages a portfolio of $160 billion, has heavily invested in financial services, which account for 31 percent of its assets.

“An investment in Markit would be an indirect exposure to the financial services industry, which is core for Temasek,” said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB.

A Temasek spokesman said in a statement it does not comment on market speculation. The news was first reported by Sky News.

A spokeswoman for Markit declined to comment.

Private equity firm General Atlantic (GA) took a minority stake in the company in January 2010. GA reportedly bought a 7.5 percent stake for $250 million, valuing the company at $3.3 billion. The rest of the company is owned by its employees, private investors and various financial institutions.

Uggla formed the company with a group of colleagues who had worked together in credit trading at Canada’s TD Securities. According to its website it now employs more than 2,800 people and is headquartered in London.

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