MSCI is acquiring Real Capital Analytics (RCA) for $950m in cash, giving the index provider access to direct real estate transaction data across the globe.

MSCI already has a global dataset of some $2trn of real estate assets, but RCA boasts a database of more than $20trn of commercial property transactions linked to more than 200,000 investors and lenders.

RCA also runs transaction-based real estate indices, which could prove complementary to MSCI’s existing roster of listed property indices and valuation-based private real estate indices.

Founded in 2000, RCA has become one of the principal sources of information on global property transactions and capital flows.

Its purchase is the latest in a number of acquisitions that have helped push MSCI – traditionally a public-markets benchmark provider and analysis firm – into private real assets.

In 2012, MSCI acquired property asset and fund index provider IPD, providing it with the foundations of its private real estate index business today. Last year, the company entered a strategic partnership with Burgiss to bring greater transparency to private infrastructure investments.

MSCI said the latest acquisition will expand its existing range of solutions, “providing the real estate industry with data, analytics and support tools to manage investments and understand performance and risk, including climate risk, within their portfolios”.

Henry Fernandez, chairman and CEO of MSCI, said: “The commercial real estate sector is seeing substantial transformation driven by several factors, including shifting consumer behaviours in work, lifestyle and travel accelerated by the pandemic, realignment in global supply chains, and the impact of climate change.

“The combined strength of MSCI’s existing data, analytics and tools, and the addition of RCA’s wealth of commercial real estate data and analytics, creates an unparalleled level of solutions for the real estate market.

“Investors will be better supported to access the opportunities that exist within this sector at scale, informed by industry-leading insights and the premier global database capturing the global commercial real estate footprint.”

Robert M White Jr, founder and president of RCA, said: “MSCI is a natural home for Real Capital Analytics since our primary goal has always been to bridge the information gap between commercial real estate and other asset classes across the financial markets. The combination of the two firms creates a powerful team that will lead innovation and analytics in the real estate asset class well into the future.”