Goldman Sachs has been hired as a financial advisor to explore the options for the business, which includes the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI>, according the source, who declined to identified because the process is private.
A Dow Jones spokesman could not be reached immediately for comment.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp bought Dow Jones in 2007 for $5.7 billion, but since then he has come under criticism for paying such a hefty price for a publishing company whose businesses have suffered from the sharp drop in ad sales. Earlier this year, News Corp wrote down $2.8 billion in Dow Jones' value.
The move to explore options for the business is not surprising. Industry analysts never felt it was much favored by Murdoch, a passionate backer of newspapers and one of the best-known media moguls.
Indeed, a number of analysts expected him to consider a sale of the index business soon after striking the deal for Dow Jones.
Potential buyers for the business could include McGraw-Hill Cos
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said the process could result in an arrangement other than a sale, like a joint venture.
(Reporting by Jui Chakravorty; Additional reporting by Megan Davies; Writing by Paritosh Bansal; Editing by Diane Craft)