Thursday, March 28, 2019

Industry Round-up: First Quarter 2019

The Week in Review will be a quarterly digest going forward. 

M&A

The Financial Times has acquired a controlling stake in TNW (The Next Web), an events and media company with a focus on new technology and startups in Europe. The acquisition, its first in continental Europe, will deepen the FT’s reach into the European technology community and create synergies with its existing events business, FT Live. The move also complements the FT’s recent investment in Sifted.

Dun & Bradstreet and an investor group led by CC Capital, Cannae Holdings, Bilcar, Black Knight, and funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners, along with a group of other investors, announced the completion of the Investor Group’s previously announced acquisition of Dun & Bradstreet. In connection with the closing, Anthony Jabbour, Black Knight’s Chief Executive Officer, was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Dun & Bradstreet and will remain in his current role at Black Knight.

Dennis Publishing, the international media group, announces it has acquired Kiplinger, a provider of business and personal finance information, in print and online. James Tye, Group CEO of Dennis, said: “Kiplinger is a great fit for Dennis. It expands our presence into the finance category, an area we already have an impressive footprint in with the The Week and MoneyWeek..”

Import.io, the Web Data Integration solution provider, announced that it has acquired Connotate, a provider of web data extraction for corporate enterprises, to further solidify its market leadership position in the emerging Web Data Integration category. Connotate brings new technology to Import.io, including eight patents.

TheStreet, a financial news and information company, announced it has completed the sale of its institutional business units, The Deal and BoardEx, to Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC. As previously announced and in connection with the closing of the sale, TheStreet will now be led by Eric Lundberg as Chief Executive Officer, who will also continue his role as Chief Financial Officer.

People

Fitch Group announced the appointment of Ted Niedermayer as its Chief Operating Officer, in addition to his ongoing role as Chief Financial Officer.  This new role is designed to enhance Fitch Group’s overall operating performance, inter-company coordination and business analytics.

Product

Bloomberg announced that alternative datasets are now available through the company’s “ready-to-use” data website, Bloomberg Enterprise Access Point. Adding alternative datasets allows Data License clients to easily access and incorporate new, non-traditional forms of data from Bloomberg and alternative data providers.

TechCrunch is launching a subscription product called Extra Crunch. Extra Crunch is an additional layer of content, coverage, product and events-based offerings for our most regular and engaged readers. This will consist of articles that go more in-depth on topics in the entrepreneurship and startup universe.

Partnerships

CoStar Group, the provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online marketplaces, announced an expanded agreement with Oxford Economics, the global economic advisory firm and provider of economic data, analysis, and forecasts. Oxford Economics will provide CoStar with the economic data and forecasts used in CoStar’s product offerings and commercial real estate forecasting models across the United States, Europe, and Canada.

Dow Jones Risk & Compliance and Dun & Bradstreet have agreed to utilize their datasets to enhance their respective risk management and regulatory compliance solutions. Dow Jones Risk & Compliance will make Dun & Bradstreet’s beneficial ownership data available through its web-based platform, RiskCenter, or via API.

Nielsen and The NPD Group released details around a new alliance that reimagines the future of omnishopper measurement and marks a key milestone in Nielsen’s measurement of the total consumer. Nielsen and NPD are building a large-scale, comprehensive omnishopper consumer panel, pairing Nielsen’s consumer packaged goods (CPG) measurement with NPD’s general merchandise consumer measurement to bring insight into today’s emerging omnishoppers.

TIBCO Software, a global provider of integration, API management, and analytics, announced it has entered into an agreement with IHS Markit. Through TIBCO Spotfire and related technologies, this partnership will deliver advanced analytics capabilities, providing accelerated and meaningful insights by making vast amounts of energy data more readily available, as well as speeding up the exploration of data.

Financing

LinkSquares, a Boston, MA-based provider of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered contract analytics software, closed a $4.8m financing round. The company intends to use the funds to expand the team, invest in advancing AI capabilities, and focus on a customer-centric go to market strategy.

Tradeweb Markets, the bond and derivative platform co-owned by financial-data platform Refinitiv, filed for a U.S. initial public offering, kicking off plans to go public five months after being acquired as part of a $17 billion buyout. Tradeweb filed with an initial offering size of $100 million, typically a placeholder amount used to calculate fees that’s likely to change.

- Kevan Huston

Thursday, January 17, 2019

John C. Bogle, 1929 - 2019.

Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard, has died.

All individual investors owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mr. Bogle, the investor of the "index" mutual fund, which rested on the proposition that, rather spend exorbitant fees trying to "beat" the market, investors were better served simply matching it with low cost tracking funds.  One "Boglehead", Allan Roth, a Colorado-based financial advisor, estimates retail investors have saved $500 Billion over his lifetime.

Not too shabby.

A round-up of coverage on the passing of this intelligent, generous and deeply ethical business leader:

Vanguard Announces the Passing of Founder John C. Bogle (Vanguard).

John C. Bogle, Founder of Financial Giant Vanguard, Is Dead at 89 (New York Times).

John C. Bogle, Founder of Vanguard Group, Dies at 89 (WSJ).

Jack Bogle, index fund pioneer, 1929-2019 (FT).

Advisors Big Farewell to John Bogle (Barron's).

‘Patron Saint’ of Investing Business: Remembering John Bogle

Jack Bogle Is Gone, But He's Still Saving Investors $100 Billion A Year


The financial services industry has innovated tremendously over the last 45 years, but it's my opinion that precious few "innovations", apart from Index funds and the ATM, have been of much benefit to the average retail customer.

RIP.

- Kevan Huston

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Big: Wall St. Moves on Exchange Fees with Members Exchange


In a nod to the past when Exchanges were owned by the members who traded on them, a consortium of Wall St. firms have announced plans for a low cost members exchange to challenge the equity market oligopoly in U.S. equities: 

Named MEMX, the exchange will be controlled by the nine banks, brokerages and high-frequency trading firms funding it, according to a news release.

The founding members are Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Virtu Financial, E*TRADE, and Citadel Securities.

Wall St. has been whingeing over market data fees for some time, of course, a battle most recently (October 2018) highlighted by the SEC’s recent decision to overturn previous fee approvals for NYSE and Nasdaq, and to institute new procedures for how exchanges should file proposals for fee-liable data services.

This will take a while to play out – wouldn’t launch until 2020 at the earliest, and attracting liquidity will be a significant challenge, but this might help put some fees pressure on the 3 firms – ICE, NASD and CBOE – that dominate us equities trading.


Press Round-up

WSJ: Wall Street Firms Plan New Exchange to Challenge NYSE, Nasdaq
Traders: Members Exchange Set to Open But is it Needed?
Bloomberg: Traders Want Their Own Exchange Too
Business Insider: Big Wall Street names are teaming up to launch a stock exchange

- Kevan Huston