Pearson and Data Broadcasting to Create World Leading Specialist Financial Information Business

FT Group to take a major stake in MarketWatch.com, operator of one of America's leading financial information website

ft.com and MarketWatch.com to form marketing alliance

The Financial Times Group, part of Pearson plc, the international media company, has today announced an agreement to merge its asset valuation business (FTAM) with the Data Broadcasting Corporation (DBC), one of America's leading providers of real-time financial market data to traders and individual investors. The combination will create one of the world's leading sources of securities pricing and specialist financial information to global institutional, professional and individual investors. The Financial Times Group will merge FTAM with DBC and take a 60% stake in the combined business. On completion of the deal, Stuart Clark, President of FTAM, will become President of the newly merged business. The combined business is expected to have pro forma revenues in 1999 of some $320m.

DBC owns a 32% stake in MarketWatch.com, operator of CBS.MarketWatch.com, which is one of the leading and fastest growing financial information websites in the United States, providing real-time breaking financial news and commentary on market-moving trends and events. The Financial Times Group will take up DBC's representation on the MarketWatch.com board and will form a marketing alliance with MarketWatch.com to cross-promote CBS.MarketWatch.com and ft.com, the leading international business information website, in both North America and Europe. The CBS Corporation has a similar sized stake in MarketWatch.com.

FTAM is the leading source of specialist pricing, dividend, corporate action and asset management information to major institutional investors around the world, with its databases used to value many of the world's leading investment funds. DBC specialises primarily in meeting the needs of individual investors and professional traders through providing analytical tools and investment models as well as real time "quote streaming" services. The expanded business will be better placed to provide a more comprehensive service to every sector of the global money management community and develop more rapidly a wider range of Internet-delivered products. The new business will also be able to achieve significant integration benefits in data collection and technology infrastructure.

Commenting on the merger, Stephen Hill, chief executive of the Financial Times Group, said:

"The merger of FTAM and DBC forms a very powerful combination to offer to the global money management community. Both businesses have strong market positions, highly valued content, flexible technology and excellent products. Together, we will broaden our scope of services across the specialist asset management and portfolio evaluation markets and deliver more of our products by Internet."

Allan Tessler and Alan Hirschfield, co-CEO's of DBC, stated: " The merger of FTAM and DBC, together with our stake in MarketWatch.com and the link to the FT Group, enhances our global position in the rapidly growing world-wide market for quality financial information. We believe that this transaction will accelerate our presence in the Internet world and create significant long-term value. "

Commenting on plans for a marketing alliance with MarketWatch.com, Stephen Hill said:

"We are very excited at becoming a major shareholder in MarketWatch.com, which operates one of America's very best financial information websites, and the opportunities it will open up for ft.com. These are two distinctive and complementary products. CBS.MarketWatch.com is strongly focused on actionable, market-oriented news while we are building ft.com as the information partner of the global business community. We will work together to cross promote and develop both businesses in Europe and North America."

Larry Kramer, founder and CEO of MarketWatch.com, said "This is a very exciting development for CBS.MarketWatch.com. We look forward to working with our new partner. Our news operations are very complementary so we can easily cross promote and help bring each other's content to our respective markets."

The transaction, which is subject to the approval of DBC's shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary conditions, is expected to be completed early in the new year.

DBC, whose shares trade on the NASDAQ national market (Nasdaq:DBCC), generated revenues of some $108m for the financial year ended June 30, 1999. The business is strongly cash positive and, in the year ended June 30 1999, it made operating profits of some $14m before depreciation and goodwill and intangibles amortisation charges of $15m and its share of MarketWatch.com losses of $6m. At the close of trading on Friday, 12 November, 1999, DBC had an equity market capitalisation of $495m. DBC is one of America's leading providers of real-time market data to the individual trader and investor. The company delivers real-time stock quotes, financial information and news to the PCs, laptops and handheld devices of millions of users via the Internet, dedicated lines, wireless FM, cable and satellite. Its major businesses include CMS, which, under the BondEdge brand, provides fixed income portfolio analytics used by institutional investment managers for valuation and risk management purposes; eSignal, which provides real time market data, trading and research delivered via the Internet to the individual trader and broker; and InSite, which provides market data and research for the professional market.

DBC owns approximately 32% of MarketWatch.com, operator of CBS.MarketWatch.com, which is one of the leading financial news websites in the United States, providing real-time breaking financial news and commentary on market-moving trends and events. In the three months to September 30, it attracted an average of 4.6 million unique monthly visitors and a total of some 434 million page views (source:Doubleclick, October 1999), a 250% increase over the same period last year. In the nine months to 30 September, it generated revenues of some $15m. MarketWatch.com trades on the NASDAQ national market (Nasdaq: MKTW), following its initial public offering in January 1999, and has a current market valuation of approximately $675m.

In 1998, FTAM generated pro forma revenues of some $200m. The business operates as the Interactive Data, Muller Data Corporation (MDC) and Muniview brands in the United States and as Financial Times Information and Valorinform in Europe and Asia Pacific. It has a database of more than 3.5 million securities, including hard-to-value unlisted fixed income instruments, and specialises in data collections and internally authored evaluations of fixed income securities. FTAM is a leading source of comprehensive disclosure data, factor information and independent valuations for a comprehensive range of US securities and offers full descriptive information of more than 2 million US municipal bonds. It also collects and distributes corporate action information on equities and bonds all over the world, specialising in "hard to get" information from emerging markets.

FTAM is part of the Financial Times Group, which also consists of:

the Financial Times newspaper, the world's leading international business newspaper;
ft.com, one of the world's leading international business information websites;
the leading business and financial newspapers and websites in France (Les Echos) and Spain (Expansion), with a new German language business and finance newspaper and website to be launched in partnership with Gruner + Jahr, one of Germany's leading newspaper and magazine publishers, early in the new year;
Financial Times Business, which produces specialist information on energy and finance markets;
FTSE International, a joint venture with the London Stock Exchange, which provides the professional investment community with the leading UK indices and, together with the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, publishes the Eurotop family of indices;
AFX news, a news agency jointly owned with Agence France-Presse, which is a global provider of real-time financial and business news;
a 50% stake in BDFM, publisher of South Africa's leading financial newspapers and website;
and a 50% stake in The Economist group, which publishes the world's leading weekly business and current affairs journal.

Notes

The Financial Times Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company, which also owns Pearson Education, the world's leading education company; Pearson Television, the world's leading international independent television production company; the Penguin Group, the world's most renowned English-language publisher; and Recoletos, one of Spain's leading media companies. For more information about Pearson plc, go to www.pearson.com

For further information

Pearson plc

 

John Fallon

 

+44 20 7411 2310


john.fallon@pearson.com