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McGraw Hill Financial in Talks to Acquire SNL Financial

SNL Financial, which is based in Charlottesville, Va., provides data, commentary, and services for banking, real estate, energy and other sectors. Talks are in the late stages and the deal could be announced as early as Monday, the people said.

New Mountain Capital LLC, a private-equity firm, acquired a roughly 60% stake in SNL Financial in 2011. It stands to make a gain on the sale, as the company was valued at about $450 million, including debt, at the time of the deal, according to a person familiar with the transaction.

For McGraw Hill, which owns Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, SNL Financial would expand on its other data services, such as S&P Capital IQ and energy-focused Platt’s. S&P also has been exploring adding to its index unit, which uses financial data to create tradable products.

Financial-data firms have been bid up by investors as hedge funds and brokers increasingly use data-driven approaches to trading, and especially value proprietary data.

Shares of McGraw Hill, which has a market value of about $29 billion, are up 125% over the past three years.

It would be one of several anticipated transactions in the sector. Financial-data and transactions giants First Data Corp. and SunGard recently filed for IPOs, and SunGard also has had suitors express interest in an acquisition, The Wall Street Journal has reported. TransUnion, the credit bureau, is up 10% since its IPO debut last month.

SNL Financial was founded in 1987 by Reid Nagle, and moved to Charlottesville in 1989. It began covering thrifts, and acquired several other newsletters and data providers in other sectors and countries.

Bloomberg News earlier reported that the two parties were in talks about a deal.

—Timothy W. Martin contributed to this article.