Steven Swartz
Steven Swartz

Hearst today announced it agreed to pay $2.8B cash to acquire the remaining 20 percent stake in Fitch Group (credit ratings, financial data) held by France’s Fimalac, holding company of French billionaire Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere. 

Fitch, which competes in the ratings business with the larger Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, will become Hearst’s largest wholly-owned business.

Hearst made its initial Fitch investment in 2006 and increased the holdings to 80 percent in 2015.

CEO Steven Swartz is eager to grow Fitch’s ratings, solutions and learning services business. “Hearst and Fitch share a commitment to innovation and helping clients utilize information to make smarter decision,” he said in a statement.

Hearst publishes San Francisco Chronicle, Cosmopolitan, Albany Times Union, Elle, Car and Driver, Harper’s Bazaar, owns 31 TV stations and investment stakes in ESPN, Buzzfeed and Vice.