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Bloomberg to Launch EDM Service on Back of PolarLake Acquisition

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Bloomberg’s surprise acquisition of Dublin-based enterprise data management specialist PolarLake is aimed at creating a central data validation utility for pricing, reference data and corporate actions. The deal follows Markit’s surprise acquisition of Cadis Software earlier this month – reputedly for a nine-figure sum – and Thomson Reuters’ decision to quit the enterprise data platform business.

According to Thomas Secunda, Bloomberg co-founder and global head of the Financial Products and Services group, the new service aims to take out some of the industry-wide cost of scrubbing multiple vendor services. By effectively outsourcing the function – or a significant amount of it – firms can reduce their spend on internal platforms, people and processes. This activity is duplicated many times over by firms that use vendor-supplied reference, pricing and corporate actions data from multiple sources.

PolarLake will be run as an independent unit, says Secunda, giving it the independence it needs to validate third-party services from firms’ data suppliers. Existing management, led by CEO John Randles, will remain in place.

The new Bloomberg enterprise data management service that PolarLake will facilitate will “help companies acquire, manage and distribute data across their organizations, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg president and CEO Dan Doctoroff says: “Our customers are looking to find new ways to reduce the cost of managing data while adhering to increasing regulatory requirements for transparency. The Bloomberg Enterprise Data Management business will address those pressures and help companies make their systems more efficient, effective and integrated.”

As with any central utility, the Bloomberg EDM service needs to cut a significant portion of firms’ internal data management spend if it is to succeed.

Certainly, the acquisition is the strongest signal yet that Bloomberg is taking this segment seriously. The company last year poached two executives – Roseann Palmieri and Sally Hinds – from Thomson Reuters’ enterprise content team. Since then, practitioners have suggested a ‘cloud-based’ approach to data validation, so it appears that the plan for the enterprise data management service has been on the cards for some time. Some industry commentators speculate that Bloomberg had looked at Cadis before it was snapped up by Markit.

Geller & Co. advised Bloomberg on the transaction.

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