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Bloomberg LP Moves Into EDM Market, Acquires PolarLake

The acquisition, a rarity for Bloomberg, aims to establish a strong enterprise data management business for the global market data solutions provider.

In a rare move for a company that usually prefers to grow organically, Bloomberg LP today acquired enterprise data management (EDM) provider PolarLake to help companies acquire, manage and distribute data across their organizations

Bloomberg, which has only done a handful of acquisitions since it was founded in 1982, has traditionally grown by developing products internally and continually improving service to its primary product, the Bloomberg Professional service.

However, PolarLake was a good fit for Bloomberg, said Thomas Secunda, co-founder, vice chairman and head of the company's financial products and services division, in an exclusive interview with Wall Street & Technology. "When we looked at PolarLake, we loved their technology and their people," he said. "Their tech is distinctly different than other [EDM] providers. That made a buy versus build very attractive when it came to PolarLake. We see technology that is world class."

"The PolarLake purchase is a strong signal to the marketplace that Bloomberg intends to be a leader in the enterprise data management business," Secunda added.

EDM is the process by which a firm manages reference data through its entire supply chain: how it acquires, shares, cleanses, manages, owns and distributes data to all users. Bloomberg's new EDM unit, with the addition of PolarLake, will allow firms to increase their efficiency by better managing high volumes of data from multiple sources, either third parties or proprietary sources, according to Bloomberg.

"Our customers are looking to find new ways to reduce the cost of managing data while adhering to increasing regulatory requirements for transparency," said Dan Doctoroff, Bloomberg President and CEO in a press release. "The Bloomberg Enterprise Data Management business will address those pressures and help companies make their systems more efficient, effective and integrated."

However, PolarLake will remain a a completely independent unit of Bloomberg so customer's data usage is not leaked back to the parent company, noted Secunda. "The connection to Bloomberg from PolarLake will almost be a vendor-customer connection," said Secunda during the interview. "PolarLake has to be independent in the way they use data and it is going to live in a segregated world. PolarLake won’t be able to report back to Bloomberg about the usage of data."

Although PolarLake will remain independent, Secunda hopes that some of Bloomberg's product and technology expertise can be brought to the new acquisition. "We are hoping PolarLake can build a set of standardized systems with tools that they can apply to other customers," Secunda said, adding that the hope is the PolarLake can "productize" their technology so they can sell a standard technology solution that can be customized, as needed, for specific customers. "Bloomberg wants to do what it did with the Terminal in the data management space," he continued. "We have an opportunity to make data management more affordable and to save our customers money in when it comes to reference data."

John Randles, CEO of PolarLake, said in a press release, "This deal is a game changer for us, Bloomberg, and the enterprise data management industry. The synergy of our technology and Bloomberg's 30 years of experience creates a one-of-a-kind EDM service that addresses regulatory, economic and operational needs."

PolarLake, a leader in reference data management, distribution and integration, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg, but will operate as an independent business unit. It will have separate facilities and operations staff, so it can provide the highest levels of security, privacy and permissioning for the data it receives. Geller & Co. advised Bloomberg on the transaction. Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio

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