(Bloomberg) -- S&P Global Inc. won European Union approval to buy IHS Markit Ltd. after agreeing to sell off commodity price assessment and financial data businesses.

The European Commission said the divestments removed “problematic overlaps” that could have “limited customers’ access to some competitive and reliable data which is essential to ensure fairness of physical trades and financial markets,” according to an emailed press release on Friday.

The deal, initially valued at about $39 billion in stock, has sailed passed regulators with the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority saying it will also clear the deal if concerns are addressed. The companies said Friday they now expect to close the deal in the first quarter of next year.

The deal marries S&P, one of the most famous names in financial markets, with a research company that supplies forecasts to most of the world’s biggest companies, as well as pricing for bonds and credit default swaps. 

The combination creates a challenger to London Stock Exchange Group Plc as financial firms are locked in a race for scale to meet surging demand for data and analytics in increasingly computerized financial markets.

The companies have previously announced the sale of IHS Markit’s Oil Price Information Services and Coal, Metals and Mining and PetroChemWire businesses to News Corp. subject to regulatory approval. 

The EU approval requires those units to be sold as well as S&P’s CUSIP Global Services issuance and data licensing business, and S&P’s leveraged loan 100 index family plus its leveraged loan market intelligence product, Loan Commentary and Data.

Concerns Eliminated

“These structural commitments fully remove the competition concerns identified by the commission,” the EU said. The buyer or buyers will need its approval.

The companies have also discussed with the CMA selling off IHS Markit’s base chemicals business, including the market advisory service and world analysis business.

“S&P Global and IHS Markit expect the proposed remedies to be sufficient to satisfy global regulators, the companies said. 

“Both the merger and the divestitures remain subject to further review and approval by global regulators and antitrust authorities, including in the U.S. and Canada, and the companies will continue to work constructively with those authorities,” they said.

(Updates with company comment from third paragraph.)

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.