IHS Markit CEO Says ‘Nobody Forced Me’ on $39 Billion Sale

Lance Uggla called his father last week to tell him a secret: He planned to sell IHS Markit Ltd. to S&P Global Inc.

His father questioned the move, but Uggla forged ahead, even though some analysts thought the price too low and he’d soon be out of a job.

“Nobody forced me -- we analyzed everything in front of us,” Uggla, IHS Markit’s chief executive officer, said Monday in a conference call with analysts. “And it’s just too exciting.”

Read more: Low-ball IHS Markit deal ‘Hard to Swallow,’ Truist says

S&P’s all-stock purchase -- worth about $39 billion -- accelerates the wave of consolidation among the finance industry’s biggest data providers. S&P CEO Douglas Peterson will lead the combined company, while Uggla will stay on as a special adviser for a year after the deal is completed.

Uggla is already thinking about the next chapter of his career. “I hope that I am doing some other things,” he said on the call. “I’m 58, I’ve got lots to do and I can tell you already, you won’t be finding me competing against something that I built.”

Uggla is among IHS Markit’s largest individual shareholders with a direct stake of about 0.3%, which soared in value to as much as $121 million Monday after the companies announced the deal. He and his family are also beneficiaries of a trust that holds an undisclosed sum of IHS Markit shares.

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Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with IHS Markit and S&P Global in providing financial analytics and information.

Canada-born Uggla founded Markit almost two decades ago in a barn outside London after serving as the head of Europe and Asia at TD Securities. He helped to lead Markit’s 2014 stock listing in New York and and later its merger with IHS Inc.

Uggla may have extra benefits from his latest deal. He’s entitled to stock awards worth at least $35 million if he loses his job within 18 months of a change in control, filings show. In that instance, he’s also eligible for an $8.2 million severance and two years of health benefits.

Other potential winners from the sale include Temasek Holdings Pte, the Singapore government-owned investment firm that held a 2.5% stake in IHS Markit at the end of September, filings show.

“This deal has a lot of low-hanging fruit,” Uggla said. “But when you start reaching up that tree that’s where all the gems are and I know our teams can do it.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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