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Platts, a business division of The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. , recently announced the completion of the buyout of Steel Business Briefing Group (SBB Group), a U.K.based leading information provider of pricing and analytics to the global steel market. However, the financial aspects of the deal were not disclosed.

Platts provides research, market data and analysis of energy and metals, which are used as a source of benchmark price assessments in the physical energy markets. The acquisition aimed to fortify the International brand of McGraw-Hill, will facilitate the company to further enhance its global position in the ever increasing commodities market.

Moreover, the buyout will supplement the services of Platts while allowing both the companies to provide its customers with an array of services in business intelligence and insights on the steel markets worldwide.  

However, the market for credit rating, research, investment and advisory services are highly competitive. McGraw-Hill’s Financial Services segment competes globally on the basis of a number of attributes, such as quality of ratings, research and investment advice, client service, range of products and services, and technological innovation.

Prior to it, McGraw Hill announced a new share repurchase program, following the previous $45 million program commenced in January 2007.

The newly announced program authorizes the company to buy back up to $50.0 million or 17% of its common stock through open market or private transactions. In the current fiscal, McGraw-Hill has repurchased 7.7 million shares and had approximately 700,000 shares left at its disposal under its old repurchase program.

McGraw-Hill also notified that it is focusing on the assessment of the general and administrative expenses to run its divisions smoothly.

Currently, we have a long-term 'Neutral' rating on McGraw-Hill, which competes with Pearson plc (PSO - Snapshot Report). However, the company holds a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term ‘Hold’ recommendation.

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