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Markit IPO hailed as sign of new confidence in Bermuda

An oversubscribed initial public offering (IPO) for Bermuda-registered Markit Ltd is a vote of confidence for the Island, a partner in a leading local law firm said yesterday.

The IPO was the fourth largest IPO in the US this year and values the enterprise at almost $4.5 billion. Conyers Dill & Pearman Limited advised on the listing.

The law firm's corporate department partner Marcello Ausenda said: “We worked closely with Markit's lawyers in New York and London to understand the needs of the client and its shareholders.

“In the end they chose Bermuda because of our credible corporate laws, our effective court and judicial system and the sterling reputation of Bermuda as a well-regulated and sound jurisdiction with a long track record.”

Markit, whose price data supports much of the global derivatives and bond markets, quickly rose 11 percent to $26.54 in New York, after the IPO was priced at $24 a share.

The stock was sold by investors including Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and Deutsche Bank AG.

Markit, which is headquartered in London, won't receive any proceeds from the IPO.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the nation's largest pension fund manager, said it will acquire about six percent of Markit as part of the IPO, at a value of $250 million.

Markit derives half of its revenue from selling financial data such as prices and indexes, with the rest split between processing trades for over-the-counter derivatives, currencies and loans.

It has more than 3,000 institutional customers globally, which subscribe to the information, including more than 150,000 independent valuations and prices for two million bonds.

The company also sells enterprise-software platforms. Mr Ausenda said the company chose Bermuda following an extensive analysis of jurisdictions, concluding the Island offered the best combination of sound corporate law and investor appeal.

He added: “The listing of Markit on the NASDAQ is a great shot in the arm for Bermuda. Markit will join other Bermuda companies like Third Point Reinsurance, Essent Ltd and GasLog Ltd who have listed on the principal US exchanges (NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange) over the past 18 months. There are now around 60 Bermuda entities listed on the most important US stock exchanges.”

“We have a number of other listings of Bermuda companies in the pipeline and we expect this list to grow significantly in the coming months.

“Our view is that new listings like Markit are a bellwether of the resurgence of client confidence and investor appetite for Bermuda companies and Bermuda corporate law advice.

“It is no coincidence that an increased number of high-profile Bermuda company IPOs has coincided with the increase in the number of Bermuda company incorporations generally.

“Incorporations for 2013 were 12 percent higher than the previous year and the government recently announced that the number of companies incorporating in Bermuda in the first quarter of this year were 17 percent higher than the same quarter of 2013.”

He added: “Corporate clients and investors have a renewed confidence in Bermuda as a jurisdiction of choice for premium transactions. This is encouraging news for all of us.”

Mr. Ausenda said that Markit is the largest listing in terms of shares sold and market capitalisation for a Bermuda public company in recent years.

Conyers advised Markit on all aspects of the IPO working alongside Davis Polk & Wardwell, Ashurst, Proskauer and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

The Conyers team included Mr Ausenda, Niel Jones as lead corporate associate, Chiara Nannini and Robert Alexander.

The firm said they have advised on transactions involving Bermuda companies worth billions of dollars in the last nine months.

Mr Ausenda said the principal US stock exchanges represented a key market for Bermuda.

He said, “We have advised on the IPOs of more than 50 percent of the Bermuda companies listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ.

“Every time we advise on these big-ticket transactions, Bermuda's name gets mentioned which enhances the profile and credibility of the jurisdiction. Blue-chip clients who choose Bermuda enhance our reputation because Bermuda is used and seen in the context of words such as ‘best in class', ‘expertise', and ‘stability'.”

Markit is a leading global diversified provider of financial information services.

Its customers include banks, hedge funds, asset managers, central banks, regulators, auditors, fund administrators and insurance companies.

It employs more than 3,000 people in ten countries.

Marcello Ausenda: Corporate department partner at Conyers Dill & Pearman.

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Published June 20, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated June 20, 2014 at 1:39 am)

Markit IPO hailed as sign of new confidence in Bermuda

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