Nasdaq (Nasdaq:NDAQ) today announced that it will acquire Dorsey, Wright & Associates, LLC (DWA), a market leader in data analytics, passive indexing and smart beta strategies. DWA will add to Nasdaq's robust index portfolio, bringing model-based strategies and analysis to support the financial advisor community, and further strengthening Nasdaq's position as a leading smart beta index provider in the U.S. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015.
DWA will increase Nasdaq's capacity for growth in the index business across asset classes and geographies, with substantial opportunities in index licensing. The combined group will bring together DWA's 17 ETFs and Nasdaq's 69 licensed smart-beta ETFs focused primarily on dividend and income strategies. As a result, Nasdaq Global Indexes will become one of the largest providers of smart beta indexes with nearly $45 billion in assets benchmarked to its family of Smart Beta indexes and more than $105 billion benchmarked to all Nasdaq Indexes.
"Our index business has been a strong growth area for Nasdaq over the last decade, and the acquisition of Dorsey Wright & Associates will further cement our position as a major player and industry innovator," said Adena Friedman, President of Nasdaq. "We are always looking for opportunities to expand Nasdaq's index offering with quality products that deepen our relationships with the investing community. DWA provides a natural complement to our business and growth strategy."
Subject to customary conditions and approvals, Nasdaq will acquire DWA for $225 million funded through a mix of debt and cash on hand. Nasdaq expects the acquisition will be accretive to the company's earnings at closing, excluding transaction-related costs, and does not expect a material impact on Nasdaq's financial leverage or capital return strategy. The acquisition will further support the company's efforts to deliver consistent and stable returns to shareholders.
"Smart Beta represents one of the fastest growing sectors within the ETF market," said Tom Dorsey, President, Dorsey Wright & Associates. "This deal will allow us to grow significantly, while continuing to create products and strategies that meet the needs of our clients."
Nasdaq intends to fuel DWA's growth strategy by accelerating product development, raising awareness of the DWA indexes and increasing the base of potential market participants through its global distribution network. Nasdaq's ability to create innovative indexes, its long-term relationships with ETF providers, and DWA's analytical capabilities and smart-beta models are expected to lead to new products in more asset classes, including fixed income, currencies and commodities, and facilitate international expansion of the DWA offerings, beginning in Canada and Europe.
Additionally, there are opportunities for Nasdaq technology to enhance DWA's web-based advisor tools used to deliver DWA's methodology into tactical asset allocation models. The enhancements will create more opportunities for financial advisors as the market continues to move toward model-based investing.
Historically, Nasdaq has a proven ability to bolster acquired companies' index businesses by leveraging its distribution, technology and product generation capabilities. This is best exemplified by the acquisition of the index business of Mergent in 2012. In the two years since the deal was completed, the index business of Mergent has over-achieved its business targets and returns, resulting in licensed asset growth of 100 percent.
Friedman concluded, "We intend to integrate the DWA team with our broader Nasdaq organization, leveraging DWA's research expertise and deep relationships with the financial advisor community, and we expect to generate revenue synergies by deepening DWA's licensing relationships with the ETF sponsor community globally."