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Markit to Acquire Loan Settlement System

Markit, a global financial information services company, today announced it has agreed to acquire ClearPar from FIS. ClearPar is an automated syndicated loan operations platform used for the settlement of par and distressed loan trades in the U.S. and Europe.

Markit will integrate ClearPar with parts of its WSO division, a provider of portfolio management software and services for the syndicated loan market, to create an electronic loan settlement platform for buy-side and sell-side market participants. The combination of ClearPar and Markit’s loan business will help reduce counterparty and operational risk in the approximately $600 billion leveraged loan market by improving loan settlement times.

Lance Uggla, Chief Executive Officer of Markit, said in a release: “Markit has spent the past five years focused on all aspects of the loan market, from loan pricing, identifiers and indices to portfolio management software and services. Our acquisition of ClearPar enhances our loan offering and allows us to combine parts of Markit WSO, a platform that is used by the buy-side, with ClearPar, which is widely used by the sell-side. By bringing these two assets together, Markit will be able to connect the market electronically, creating significant operational efficiencies. I believe this will be well received by market participants and regulatory bodies alike.”

Armins Rusis, Executive Vice President and Global Co-Head of Fixed Income at Markit, said in the release: “We are excited about the ClearPar acquisition and the positive impact it will have on the marketplace. The combination of Markit’s loan processing and data platform with ClearPar’s settlement system will allow us to introduce faster, more accurate settlement of loan trades. Existing and prospective investors in the syndicated loan market have been seeking a global solution for some time.”

ClearPar, launched in 2001, is part of FIS’s Advanced Commercial Banking Solutions (ACBS) division and provides a middle-office platform for trade settlement in the syndicated loan market. The platform supports primary assignments and secondary market trading for U.S. and European credits, including a distressed debt settlement service that launched earlier this year. Markit WSO provides data, software and services designed to make the management of syndicated bank loans and structured deals more efficient and accurate.

E.A. Kratzman, President of Katonah Debt Advisors, said in the release: “As a major investor in credit, I view the combination of Markit and ClearPar as the most positive step toward true automation of closing and settlement in the loan market in many years. Most market participants are eager to see syndicated loan processing and trade settlement achieve the levels of workflow speed and efficiency that have evolved in other financial markets.”

Richard Levy, President of FIS’ ACBS division, said in the release: “FIS is proud of the innovation we have brought to the commercial loan marketplace including LMA settlement and, most recently, distressed trade settlement. This transaction will allow FIS’ ACBS division to sharpen its focus on its market leading Loan Servicing System and front-office suite of products in sales, syndication and loan trading.”

Markit and FIS have also signed a strategic alliance agreement to promote and integrate Markit’s loan pricing, data and settlement systems with FIS' ACBS front office systems, SyndTrak and SyndTrak Online, for sales, syndication and deal site publishing.

Upon completion of the transaction, Markit will have more than 360 employees dedicated to the loan market and over 650 financial institutions as clients with over $1 trillion in corporate loans under management. The deal is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter of 2009.

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