BlackRock has agreed to buy UK data group Preqin for £2.55bn.

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BlackRock has agreed to buy Breakcoin, a UK private markets data group, for £2.55 billion in cash, as the world’s largest money manager seeks to invest in alternative assets and makes its first foray into providing financial information. said people familiar with the matter.

The $10.5 trillion asset manager beat out S&P Global and Bloomberg to acquire Bitcoin in the latest in a series of deals for specialist data providers, they added. The deal is expected to be announced on Monday.

Deal making for data providers has proliferated in recent years as private equity firms, asset managers and larger information firms race to serve investors who want access to accurate information about all corners of financial markets, including private equity, infrastructure and hedge funds.

Other data providers that have changed ownership in recent years include S&P Global’s $44 billion acquisition of IHS Markit in 2020 and the London Stock Exchange Group’s $27 billion acquisition of Refinitiv. The buyout groups have focused on smaller players, including Permira’s acquisition of a majority stake in Reorg that valued the distressed debt and bankruptcy information provider at about $1.3 billion.

The deal marks BlackRock’s second large-scale private-markets acquisition in six months. The firm closed a $12.5 billion deal to buy Global Infrastructure Partners in January. That acquisition is scheduled to close in the third quarter.

The Financial Times was the first to report that Preqin was for sale and that BlackRock was among the bidders.

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The Preqin deal falls between two areas that BlackRock CEO Larry Fink described as critical to the money manager’s continued growth: alternative assets and BlackRock’s technology arm, which provides risk and data management services to both public and private market asset managers.

Founded 20 years ago, Preqin specializes in tracking the performance of private equity funds and hedge funds. It now has about 200,000 users and provides data on 60,000 fund managers and 30,000 investors. Its revenues have grown by more than 20 percent annually over the past three years. The company’s growth has been accelerated by a long boom in private capital, which is expected to reach more than $40 trillion in assets by the end of the decade.

BlackRock will pay 13 times Preqin’s expected 2024 revenue of $240 million.

The company was founded by Mark O’Hare, who is expected to become a vice president at BlackRock. It also attracted interest from private equity buyers, but ultimately chose to be acquired by a strategic competitor.

BlackRock plans to keep Preqin as a separate offering, but also plans to integrate its data feeds into the company’s risk management offerings Aladdin and eFront. The deal is expected to close later this year.

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