McGraw-Hill Companies has sold MMS International, a unit of Standard & Poor’s that provides real time fixed income and foreign exchange commentary and analysis, to a newly formed company, MMS Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the move came as a surprise to some in that discussions were believed to have been ongoing with Informa Group.
Sources from within both companiessuggest to Profit & Loss that a merger of MMS International and Informa’s MCM unit, which provides the same services as MMS International, were at an advanced stage last year, but were called off due to the uncertain economic outlook post-September 11. These sources also claim that talks had resumed earlier this year, but foundered on the price to be paid for MMS. Neither company would comment on these reports.
MMS Group has been formed by a combination of institutional funds – advised by Alchemy Partners – the Halifax Bank of Scotland, plus senior MMS managers, led by Mickey Arora, who most recently worked at Dow Jones Newswires as the business and marketing director, EMEA.
“Under the new framework, we will be in a better position to grow our real time market commentary and analysis franchise,” says Arora. “With the wealth of experience the new owners bring in similar ventures, we will be able to explore other opportunities in the markets.
“MMS Group looks forward to supporting employee initiatives and efforts designed to build our business,” he continues. “These will include increasing the breadth and depth of market coverage and the development of new delivery channels to better serve the growing demand for independent commentary and analysis in financial markets.”
Commenting on the sale of MMS, Leo O’Neill, president of Standard & Poor’s, suggests that the company had doubts over the unit’s ability to grow in what is a very competitive market – within which earnings have been steadily eroded over the past few years due to consolidation in the banking industry, as well as tighter controls over spending.
“Standard & Poor’s strategy is to direct resources to those businesses where we have significant market presence and hence greater opportunities for financial growth,” he says. “We are proud of our affiliation with MMS over the past 13 years and we are pleased that the people and the business will continue their outstanding contribution to the financial marketplace under new ownership.”