S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) is acquiring Kensho Technologies Inc., developer of artificial intelligence for analytics and problem solving for Wall Street and national security clients.
With Kensho, S&P Global plans to strengthen its own analytical tools and internal operations, as well as enhance the insights it can provide to clients. Kensho gains financial backing for its research and development, along with access to S&P Global’s client base and its data sets.
S&P Global is a leading provider of transparent and independent ratings, benchmarks, analytics and data to the capital and commodity markets worldwide. The company's divisions include S&P Global Ratings, S&P Global Market Intelligence, S&P Dow Jones Indices and S&P Global Platts.
“Via this acquisition, S&P Global is demonstrating a strong commitment to not just participating in the fintech evolution, but leading it," says Douglas Peterson, S&P Global’s CEO. Acquiring the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company will strengthen S&P Global’s technology capabilities at a time when artificial intelligence and natural language processing is expected to revolutionize financial markets data and analytics, says Ewout Steenbergen, S&P Global’s chief financial officer.
"Kensho's capabilities are critical for S&P Global to be at the forefront of the technology transformation taking place within the financial markets and it will accelerate multiple commercial and efficiency opportunities,” Steenbergen says.
New York –based S&P Global has been busy investing in financial technology companies lately. In 2017, the company invested in minority stakes in Kensho and Algomi, a London-based fintech company focused on bond information, as well as in a round of venture capital financing for Ursa Space Systems, an analytics-as-a-service company connecting satellite imagery to market data. In February 2018, S&P Global announced plans to buy Panjiva, a fintech company that applies data science to unstructured data sets, including global supply chain data.
Data analytics providers have become attractive acquisition targets, especially in the financial sector. Besides S&P Global, the list of recent buyers has included ION Investment Group, Morningstar, Nasdaq and Thomson Reuters.
S&P Global will pay $550 million in cash and stock for Kensho, and assuming the deal passes muster with regulators, the transaction is expected to close by early second quarter 2018. Kensho, founded in 2013 by Daniel Nadler, will continue to operate independently under S&P Global’s ownership.