GLOBAL- Talks between Standard & Poor's (S&P) and Schroder Salomon Smith Barney (SSSB) over merging the firms' global index businesses are near to completion, according to a source at Citigroup.
Talks started in November 2001. The source said agreements had been flying back and forth for months but the sticking point had been the issues of licences and intellectual property, which are now very close to being resolved.
SSSB indices are provided for free and the possibility of having to pay for them may have alarmed some users.
Another thorny issue is how many SSSB people would join S&P and how to reconcile salary structures. The source said agreement on these issues was now “imminent”.
An S&P spokesman declined to discuss the merger talks, but did say: “The index world is a pretty small world.
“There are a handful of providers out there whether it be North American or European-based and there are really always talks back and forth. It’s just industry evolutions and things like that.
“I cannot say today that there is anything in that area that we have a comment on.”
It has previously been thought that pressure from Barclays Global Investors might be behind the decision to sell, as BGI now sponsors an exchange-traded fund based on the EAFE index and has an interest in making sure it remains the most widely used index for international investing.
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