UPDATE 2-Dealmaking heats up for oil pricing agencies as IHS buys OPIS

Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:02pm EST
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(Adds Argus Media potential sale, PRA regulation)

Jan 11 (Reuters) - Information provider IHS Inc has agreed to buy U.S. oil pricing agency OPIS as deal making in the oil pricing industry heats up after regulators' scrutiny cools.

IHS, which provides information and analytics to customers from airspace and shipping to government security, will pay $650 million for U.S.-based Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) to add real-time pricing information to its energy analytics business.

Price reporting agencies have come under increased scrutiny since the European Union proposed tougher new rules regulating their activity in 2013. [here ]

The scrutiny peaked when EU officials raided the offices of Platts', the world's biggest price reporting agency, and trading offices of BP and Shell and Statoil in 2013.

But last December, the European Commission had dropped its investigation into BP, Shell, Statoil and Platts, part of McGraw Hill Financial Inc <MHFI,N>.

The global securities watchdog IOSCO decided last year that price reporting agencies were adhering to industry guidelines and said further annual reviews were not necessary.

In November 2015, another pricing agency, London-based Argus Media, the second largest of the PRAs after Platts, said it had appointed Bank of America Merrill Lynch to "review strategic options for the next phase of its development."

Argus said it has been approached by a number of prospective investors including "trade buyers and private equity funds".   Continued...