McGraw Hill Exploring Sale of J.D. Power Research Business

McGraw Hill Financial Inc. is exploring a sale of its market research business J.D. Power as it concentrates its focus on capital and commodities markets, the company said in a statement Friday.

The company hired Morgan Stanley to advise on “strategic alternatives" for the unit, which conducts consumer-satisfaction surveys for industries including automotive, insurance and travel. 

J.D. Power could be valued at as much as $1 billion, Reuters reported on Oct. 28, citing a person familiar with the matter. Private equity firms and companies in the automotive industry such as Cox Enterprises, which owns online car marketplace Autotrader and car auction company Manheim Auctions may find the unit appealing, Reuters reported.

McGraw Hill, which owns Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services and the S&P Dow Jones Indices, staked its future on financial services after jettisoning its publishing business in March 2013. It agreed to buy financial news and data provider SNL Financial in July for about $2.23 billion.

“We have increased our focus on capital and commodity markets and believe that J.D. Power could be more valuable to a company in the market research and consumer analytics space that could better leverage its capabilities,” McGraw Hill Chief Executive Officer Doug Peterson said in the statement.

Shares in the company were little changed at $93.94 at 11:07 a.m. Friday in New York. The stock was up 5.9 percent this year through Thursday, compared with a 1.5 percent gain in the benchmark S&P 500 index.

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