London Stock Exchange Buying Fort Mill Data Firm

Nov 21, 2016

Mergent Inc., a small financial information company based in Fort Mill, is being sold to the London Stock Exchange.

Terms of the deal announced Monday weren't disclosed. It means a payoff for the private company's lead investor, Carousel Capital of Charlotte.

Mergent supplies investors with data and analysis about public and private companies. It's small compared to giant competitors like Thomson-Reuters or Bloomberg. But its more than 100-year history and treasure trove of data (more than 35 terabytes) caught the attention of the London exchange, CEO Jonathan Worrall said.   

LSE (London Stock Exchange) and its FTSE Russell information division didn't have the capabilities that Mergent brought, Worrall said.

"It's transformative, the merger. We're a well-established financial data provider. We obviously are a small company relative to the majority of our competitors, who are all billion-dollar entities," Worrall said in an interview.

For Worrall, the deal was a chance for growth. "What this does for us is it gives us access to all of those markets and institutions that the LSE and Russell provide data to," he said.

Mark Makepeace, the CEO of FTSE Russell and LSE's head of information services, also talked about the chance for growth.  

"Mergent will broaden our range of data services, research and analytics to meet the increasing demands of our clients for benchmarks and related data and analytic services," Makepeace said in a press release.

In particular, Mergent has a century's worth of data and analytics on 385,000 corporate bonds, 3.6 million U.S. municipal bonds and millions of private companies. It has about 4,000 customers worldwide, including investment firms, brokerage houses and law firms.

Mergent has about 300 employees worldwide, including 120 here. Worrall says the company will remain in Fort Mill and expects to expand employment after the merger.

The deal still needs federal antitrust approval, but the companies expect it to close on January 31.