Barclays bond index unit hits market; may fetch $400 million: sources

NEW YORK Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:19pm EDT

A man shelters under umbrellas as he walks past a Barclays branch in central London May 8, 2014.    REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

A man shelters under umbrellas as he walks past a Barclays branch in central London May 8, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Barclays Plc (BARC.L) has launched a long-anticipated sale process for its Index, Portfolio and Risk Solutions (IPRS) business, which could yield around $400 million for the UK bank, according to people familiar with the matter.

A process for the unit kicked off in early June with indications of interest from prospective bidders due later this month, the people said this week, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.

The business has attracted preliminary interest from several parties, including MSCI Inc (MSCI.N), Standard & Poor's (MHFI.N), FTSE, Markit Ltd (MRKT.O), Bloomberg LP and Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO), Interactive Data Corp [IGLHOT.UL] the people added.

Reuters first reported in November that Barclays began exploring options for the index business following an approach from MSCI, another index business.

A Barclays spokesman declined to comment. Representatives for MSCI, Markit, Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Representatives from FTSE, Standard & Poor's and Bloomberg declined to comment.

The index business Barclays intends to sell includes a basket of over 98 major indexes, according to its website. The U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, which Barclays bought as part of the Lehman Brothers acquisition during the financial crisis, is among the platform’s best-known offerings.

The index business, known as a market leader, would attract a wide range of buyers such as equity indexes, and investment houses with distribution platforms, people familiar with the matter have said.

But other index providers are also looking to ramp up their offerings. FTSE, which is owned by the London Stock Exchange Group Plc (LSE.L) and is one of the dominant index providers in Europe, has said it wants to increase its U.S. presence substantially.

In addition, the risk solutions side of the business unit has software tools used by institutional investors to perform analysis of their holdings. The two sides of the business are seen as compatible and would not need to be split prior to a potential acquisition, the people said.

(Reporting by Mike Stone in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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