As we predicted in 2021 recently market data has attracted large outsiders like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, albeit not with big deals but more stepping their toes into the waters through small stakes and partnerships. Notably these players are providing reach and distribution and their partners of choice are not vendors but the large owners of proprietary data, i.e. the big exchanges. This is bringing together distribution and content backed by strong delivery channels.

In 2023 more such deals are likely, with smaller exchanges, vendors and Private Equity seeking out strong data and analytics based market data vendors to invest in. There could be a particular emphasis on liquidity driven data and distribution platforms connecting the buy side to the wholesale market that includes related solutions like risk, compliance, and reference data. A buy side client base is a recurrent theme in this article.

MDG does not see much activity in the ESG space because it is a mess, or Alt Data as it needs to mature for now.

As MDG says every year look out for a Bloomberg blockbuster. One day this prediction will come true.

Here are our 5 thoughts on Market Data Mergers & Acquisitions:

1.Content Driven Buys and also Tie-Ups between Data Owners/Exchanges & Multi-Media Content Distributors

2.Electronic Trading Venues & Platforms in Demand

3.Smaller Exchanges and Vendors Play Catch Up with the Big Boys

4.Private Equity Money Seek Low Cost, High Margin Assets

5.Which Key Assets to Look Out For?  By asset class, Realty, Commodities, by service, Liquidity, Risk & Compliance


1.Technology Driven Content Driven Buys & Partnerships. External market interest comes from two sides of the technology divide, solutions providers and media content distributors. The data revenue model is more attractive than providing technology applications only solutions, and as the solutions themselves require data, there is a natural synergy for the Solutions Providers like Adenza,  Broadridge and SS&C to buy data assets, especially for asset managers and liquidity driven content to feed their solutions.

In contrast technology distribution channels like Cloud Providers and media businesses need content to keep and more importantly expand both their higher value institutional and retail investment audience base. In 2023 they will continue to forge equity stake partnerships with content owners. For them partnerships with the sources are preferable to regulatory scrutiny. Either way technology driven businesses are seeking data content, and to emulate the market data pricing model.

2.Electronic Trading Venues & Platforms in Demand. The number of independent electronic only OTC trading venues with meaningful liquidity, and therefore producing data products, is declining as exchanges buy them up, especially in FX and Fixed Income. Yet the demand is there based on the value of Tradeweb which we believe is the template in 2023 for investment interest, i.e. the ability to connect liquidity to buy side institutions.

If this is the case then businesses like BTIG, and Virtu will be attractive, and maybe even the Inter-Dealer Brokers, woefully under-valued, for platforms like TP ICAP’s Liquidnet, and their under-developed data and analytics services, though only for the most cash rich and experienced operators in the field like a Blackstone.

Smaller Exchanges and Vendors Play Catch Up with the Big Boys. CBOE, DBAG, ICE, LSEG (FTSE Russell/Refinitiv), and NASDAQ for exchanges plus S&P Global as a vendor have rapidly transformed their market data businesses by expanding their information services offerings. Notably by buying products and market share instead of developing inhouse.

Smaller exchanges have reached client saturation point with data only products, and along with tier 2 vendors need to reach the next level of development and revenue generation to remain relevant, especially in analytics and platforms. These exchanges primarily in North America and Europe likely to be active in Risk, Compliance, and Distribution platforms catering for the buy side with deals up to US$250 Million, but most likely ranging from between US$10 Million and US$100 Million. Vendors are more likely to focus on datafeeds, specialist reference data, especially credit and fixed income but smaller deals.

4.Private Equity Money Seek Low Cost, High Margin Assets. While Private Equity has had extensive interest in the market data technology solutions space in companies like Calypso Technology (Adenza), Finastra, oriented towards operations, the Blackstone investment in Refinitiv has woken many up to the intrinsic value of data driven assets, although its precursor was the Pincus Warburg/Silverlake buy of Interactive Data. The two immediate candidates in 2023 for similar treatment are Factset and Morningstar, although TP ICAP’s Parameta was in the frame last year, and IRESS in 2021.

Smaller Private Equity money is likely to chase data solution businesses, or technology plus data, for instance platforms, risk, especially compliance, and analytics providers, with a bias towards businesses with a buy side client base, and wealth management. An outside option is for smaller Exchanges and Private Equity companies to team up along the lines of Deutsche Börse and General Atlantic with Qontigo.

5.Which Key Assets to Look Out For? Most assets have value to someone, but taking a macro view of the world right now on how financials impact the man on the street are taking precedence, none more so than property, mortgages, loans and the cost of living. Each of these inevitably feeds through to financing. ICE is leading the way in realty with its Ellie Mae buy, and other exchanges and vendors are likely to get into the world’s largest asset class, especially in markets like Australia, Canada, Singapore, and the UK. Mortgage service and distribution platforms are likely to be attractive.

Equally higher food prices feeds along the supply chains, so data sources from production to consumption and associated costs require commodities risk, analytics, and index solutions and data, as volatilities increase. The lack of diversity in supply across these markets is likely to create premiums for high quality assets.


If we look closely each of the predictions have a high degree of correlation with the others, though the buyers are likely to see them in isolation, looking for opportunistic M&A, which is natural but lacks strategic focus. The largest deals are likely to come from directly outside the market data industry, entrants seeking strategic footholds.

Smaller exchanges, and vendors joined by large Tech companies and Private Equity seeking to either break free of existing limitations or gain a foothold will seek out positive cash generating businesses, but for some lacking the financial firepower of industry heavyweights may prefer to take large minority stakes, like TMX in Vettifi.

On the Prowl in 2023

  • Blackstone seems to have developed an appetite for the industry but might look for more electronic venue driven opportunities, especially if there is a buy-side component
  • Broadridge is firmly establishing itself as a technology driven data provider, needs more liquidity driven data assets
  • Factset could well seek to bulk up its businesses, possibly with a large independent vendor with trading platforms and wealth management. IRESS could fit this bill nicely.
  • IBM/Azure is the fourth big (non-Chinese) Cloud Provider and is likely looking at content driven partnerships. Given ICE’s seeming reticence, Deutsche Börse as an alternative has a wide ranging and interesting if somewhat unstructured portfolio
  • NASDAQ could well expand its proprietary index business to other markets through purchasing independent index creators
  • Options Technologies, UK based has been flying under the radar, quietly buying market data service vendors, notably Activ Financial, it is somewhat lightweight in the important Fixed Income space where there are opportunities

2023 will be about the smart buyer not the lucky one.

Keiren Harris 31 January 2023



Please contact info@marketdata.guru for a pdf copy of the article

For information on our consulting services please email knharris@datacompliancellc.com