Markit IPO latest step in banks’ data war

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Markit, the financial data company set up by a former trader in his shed, is set to mark its evolution with a share offering in New York this year.

The initial public offering could value the Markit, which is targeting Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg in the financial data space, at more than $5 billion, a source with knowledge of the subject told CNBC.

A spokesman for Markit declined to comment.

We're Working on a Trader Chat Platform: Markit CEO

(Read more: Markit plans chat service after Bloomberg privacy breach)

Markit is backed by some of the most powerful investment banks in the world, and its board of directors includes prominent representatives from Goldman Sachs, UBS, JP Morgan, Royal Bank of Scotland, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, among others. It also provides some financial data to CNBC.

It was founded by Lance Uggla, an Australian trader living in the U.K., in 2001. Uggla still owns around 15 percent of the company, so the IPO could catapult him into the leagues of the super-rich.

Temasek, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund, bought a 10 percent stake in the company last year, fuelling speculation that it was ripe for the market. Markit also appointed a new chief financial officer.

The company launched Markit Collaboration Service in October 2103 to rival of Bloomberg's messaging service business. The service, which incorporates Thomson Reuters' Eikon messaging system, is used already by bankers at BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. There are no figures yet on whether the service has been successful at luring traders from Bloomberg, whose dominance has been threatened by the revelation journalists had monitored chat rooms and gained access to client data.

(Read more: Trading scandals may be the final nail in chat rooms' coffins)

Markit, which employs 3,000 people, has an average 15 percent annual revenue growth over the past five years. It does the majority of its business in the U.S. and U.K. and around 10 percent in Asia.

In 2012, the last year for which company reports are available, revenues came in at $861 million, and assets were worth around $3 billion, according to records filed at the U.K.'s Companies House.

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle. Twitter: @cboylecnbc.