The parent of Standard & Poor's said it was in active settlement talks with federal and state regulators over its ratings on six commercial mortgage-backed securities.
McGraw Hill Financial Inc. took a $60 million charge in the third quarter for a possible accord, which is unrelated to the U.S. Department of Justice's $5 billion lawsuit against S&P.
The charge contributed to a 12 percent decline in McGraw Hill's profit from a year earlier. Adjusted operating profit, however, rose 24 percent, topping analysts' forecasts and sending McGraw Hill's share price to a record high.
In July, McGraw Hill disclosed that it had received a "Wells notice" from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicating that the regulator might file a civil enforcement action over the securities, which were issued in 2011.
On a conference call, Chief Executive Douglas Peterson said the possible settlement would resolve that matter, as well as investigations by the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts, Eric Schneiderman and Martha Coakley.
S&P spokeswoman Catherine Mathis, SEC spokesman John Nester, Schneiderman spokesman Matt Mittenthal and Coakley spokeswoman Jillian Fennimore declined to comment.
Separately, S&P said the SEC had decided not to take any enforcement action following a three-year probe into its ratings for a 2007 offering, Delphinus CDO 2007-1.
S&P's commercial mortgage-backed securities business suffered a setback in July 2011 when the rating agency discovered a methodology error and withdrew its ratings on a $1.5 billion commercial real estate offering arranged by Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
The Justice Department lawsuit arose from activity predating the 2008 financial crisis.
Filed in February 2013, that lawsuit accused S&P of inflating its ratings to win more business from issuers and failing to downgrade troubled mortgage-backed debt fast enough.
That case is being handled in Santa Ana, California, and a trial is not expected before September 2015. Many U.S. states are pursuing similar lawsuits in their respective courts.
S&P's main U.S. rivals, Moody's Corp.'s Moody's Investors Service and Fimalac SA's Fitch Ratings, do not face similar lawsuits.
In the third quarter, McGraw Hill's profit fell to $190 million, or 69 cents per share, from $215 million, or 77 cents a share, a year earlier.
The New York-based company said operating profit adjusted for items was $1.02 per share. Analysts on average expected 94 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose 10 percent to $1.26 billion.
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