S&P Global’s $39 Billion Deal Shows Market Data’s Dominance

S&P Global Inc. grew out of a firm that provided bond ratings and railroad data. IHS Markit Ltd. traces its roots to a British barn and an effort to offer prices for the opaque world of credit derivatives.

Now, the second-biggest acquisition of 2020 will combine the two into a data Goliath that tracks everything from the price of wheat to the movements of hundreds of thousands of ships criss-crossing the world’s oceans.

The $39 billion deal underscores the central role of data in financial markets and the ever-growing demand from investors for information that gives them an edge in increasingly fast and computerized markets. Global spending on market data and analysis rose almost 6% to $32 billion last year, according to Burton-Taylor International Consulting.

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