Capital Management Philosophy

S&P Global’s capital management philosophy* is focused on:

  • Responsible stewardship of shareholder capital
  • Business line accountability
  • A capital-light, cash flow generative business model
  • Robust, investment-grade balance sheet
  • A rigorous framework for capital allocation
  • Disciplined acquisition strategy
  • Returning capital to shareholders
  • …Resulting in strong total shareholder returns

*Introduced in 2017

Capital Management Starts with Free Cash Flow Generation

Free Cash Flow Excluding Certain Items

(dollars in millions)


Free cash flow excluding certain items increased to $3.5 billion in 2021

See page 68 for 11-year Free Cash Flow table and footnotes

Annual Free Cash Flow Returned to Shareholders(1)

Cash Returned to Shareholders

(dollars in millions)

Share repurchases
Regular dividend
Total SPGI
Free cash flow excluding certain items


Shares repurchased are reported on a settlement-date basis

Annual free cash flow returned to shareholders in 2020 was 55%

In November 2020, S&P Global’s share repurchase program was suspended due to the pending merger with IHS Markit. In 2021, the Company paid dividends of $743 million. Only 21% of free cash flow, excluding certain items, was returned to shareholders. The merger closed on February 28, 2022. Post-close, the Company expects to significantly increase share repurchases from 2021 levels. 

See pages 70 and 71 for the dividend and share repurchase tables

See footnotes at bottom of this page

Setting Clear Financial Metrics for Organic and Inorganic Investments

Key Financial Metrics

  • Net Present Value (NPV)
  • Cash Return on Invested Capital (ROIC)
  • Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
  • Earnings contribution

The Company continuously analyzes a wide range of internal investments and acquisitions to deliver upon strategic goals and enhance competitive positioning, allocating capital to the highest returning projects and holding our management team accountable.

The Company is interested in opportunities that:

  • Augment benchmarks, proprietary data, and tools and analytics capabilities
  • Provide geographic diversification
  • Bolster recurring revenues
  • Provide synergies

Maintaining a Prudent and Flexible Balance Sheet

See footnotes at bottom of this page

Financial Health Targets

  • Committed to investment-grade credit rating
  • Targeting a post-merger adjusted gross debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 2.0x to 2.5x

Delivering Exceptional Total Shareholder Return

Total Shareholder Return (4)

(years ended December 31)

Note:  Total Shareholder Return represents stock price appreciation plus reinvestment of dividends
Source:  S&P Global Market Intelligence

In 2021, S&P Global’s total shareholder return was approximately 45%.
Returns assume $100 invested on December 31, 2016 and total return includes reinvestment of dividends through December 31, 2021. 

S&P Global is committed to returning excess capital to shareholders while maintaining a strong balance sheet


Free cash flow represents global operating cash flow less capex and certain excluded items. Target includes both dividends and share repurchases


Adjusted gross debt includes debt, unfunded portion of pension liabilities (~$184 million), S&P DJI put option (~$3.43 billion), and the expected NPV of operating leases (~$588 million)


Adjusted gross debt includes debt, unfunded portion of pension liabilities (~$244 million), S&P DJI put option (~$2.27 billion), and the expected NPV of operating leases (~$732 million)


Calculated using dividend-adjusted closing share price