Asia can never be described as a hive of market data, let alone data, M&A. Off the top of my head recently I can recall Refinitiv disposing of AFE Solutions to N2N Connect in 2016 (Leaving a bad taste in employees’ mouths in the process), the 2018 management buyout of Shareinvestor, and in 2020 SGX invested in Scientific Beta the French index creator for a cool €186 Million. Though Nikkei and Quick working together have shown some appetite in buying stakes in StoxPlus (Vietnam now FinGroup), the aforementioned N2N Connect (Malaysia) and Xignite these deals have never delivered on what was promised.

While the Tier 1 global exchange groups, especially Deutsche Börse, ICE, LSEG, and NASDAQ have trailblazed an acquisitional path to expand their core market data businesses beyond vanilla price data, their Asian peers have shown no equivalent sense of adventure, and their information businesses remain immature. So JPX’s formation of JPXI (JPX Market Innovation & Research Incorporated) bringing their individual index, data, and digital-related services under a single umbrella is significant when followed by acquiring Scripts Asia simply because the deal actually happened.

JPXI is touted as a core component of its ‘Target 2030’ strategy to create a global, financial and information platform called ‘G-HUB’  providing Japanese capital market oriented services notably ESG and listed company services (which is where Scripts fits in) utilising new technologies.


Delivering Investor Relations services follows a path taken by other exchanges, notably NASDAQ, while others provide basic corporate announcements on their home pages.

This deal is in no way transformational. Scripts provides a solid investor relations platform designed to bridge the gap created by the parochial nature of the Japanese market between local listed companies and western investors who have been put off in the past by a lack of access to investment information in English. The depth of corporate information available in Japanese is quite phenomenal.

By purchasing Scripts Asia, JPX seems to be hoping that developing the business will give western investors greater incentives to trade on the exchange through better insights and accessibility to Asian corporations. In some ways its is a recognition that Japan does need to be more attractive to global investors and showcase its potential. However, Scripts Asia itself lacks global reach and relies upon S&P Global’s Xpressfeed for content distribution.

As for JPX’s overall market data strategies this deal will not move the JPX’s core information services business forward. It is a bolt on. JPX’s earns 20% of overall revenues from market data, but this is overwhelmingly from indices and vanilla price data.

So while this 20% is quite high it does not reflect that JPX’s total US$1,035 Million in revenues are not large relative in market size to HKEx, US$2,358 Million, or SGX’s US$828 Million.

It will be what JPX will do next, if anything, that will be more revealing how they will develop ‘G-HUB’ and ‘Target 2030’.

Keiren Harris 29 March 2023

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