Temasek in talks to buy stake in financial data provider Markit

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Singapore's Temasek Holdings is in talks to buy a stake worth around US$500 million (S$621 million) in financial data provider Markit, a source familiar with the deal said.

If the talks succeed, a deal could happen over the next "few months", the source told Reuters. He declined to be identified because the talks were not public.

A Temasek spokesman said in a statement the investment firm does not comment on market speculation. The news was first reported by Sky News. A spokesman for Markit declined to comment.

Markit began life in 2001, working out of a barn in St Alban's, a commuter town 32km north of London. Founded by Canadian Lance Uggla, the group provides financial data and trade processing services, primarily for the credit market.

Private equity firm General Atlantic (GA) took a minority stake in the company in January 2010. GA reportedly bought a 7.5 per cent stake for US$250 million, valuing the company at US$3.3 billion. The rest of the company is owned by its employees, private investors and various financial institutions.

Temasek, which manages a portfolio of US$160 billion, has heavily invested in financial services, which account for 31 per cent of its assets.

"An investment in Markit would be an indirect exposure to the financial services industry, which is core for Temasek," said CIMB economist Song Seng Wun.

Mr Uggla formed the company with a group of colleagues who worked together in credit trading at Canada's TD Securities. According to its website, it now employs more than 2,800 people and is headquartered in London.

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