Citigroup Said to Explore Sale of Yield Book

Updated on
  • S&P, ICE, MSCI said to be among those that could show interest
  • Securities traders seek specialized data and information firms

Citigroup Inc. is exploring the sale of a fixed income analytics business called Yield Book, according to people familiar with the matter.

Trading information services providers that could be interested in the unit include S&P Global Ratings Inc., Intercontinental Exchange Inc. and MSCI Inc., said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

Yield Book generates about $100 million in annual revenue, the people said. It’s not clear how much it would be worth in a sale, one of the people said.

The unit traces its roots to books about bond data that Salomon Brothers began publishing in the 1960s. It offers a range of analytical tools for investors and traders in corporate, government and mortgage bonds, as well as derivatives and other kinds of securities, according to its website. Salomon Brothers, the Wall Street firm that essentially created the modern fixed income market, started Yield Book in 1989 as a software tool for helping customers calculate bond yields.

Representatives for Citi and Intercontinental Exchange declined to comment while representatives for S&P Global and MSCI didn’t immediately return calls for comment.

Citi Sales

The potential divestiture comes as New York-based Citi unloads parts of its sprawling consumer and investment bank to shore up capital, lower expenses and boost returns.

Citi is in the process of selling its consumer banking operations in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. It agreed last month to sell its prepaid card services unit to Wirecard AG, and in May sold a stock-trading business to Citadel Securities.

There has been a boom in takeover interest for firms like Yield Book that provide highly specialized data and information services. In April, China’s Huatai Securities Co. agreed to pay $780 million for AssetMark Financial Holdings Inc. Intercontinental Exchange has been pursuing deals in the industry, buying London’s Trayport Ltd. for about $650 million last year, and securities evaluations and credit market businesses from S&P this year.

Companies involved in securities trading also are looking to buy these firms as the business of selling stocks and bonds becomes increasingly less profitable.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, competes with other trading analytics companies.

(An earlier version corrected a misspelling of Colombia.)

(Adds Intercontinental Exchange deal in eighth paragraph.)
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