Television

Thomson in £8.8bn bid for Reuters

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MUMBAI:Soon after Rupert Murdoch’s bid for Dow Jones, Canada-based Thomson Corp is in talks to buy Reuters Group Plc for about 8.8 billion pounds ($17.7 billion) to create Thomson-Reuters, the world’s biggest news and financial services company.

In an announcement to the London Stock Exchange, the two media companies said there was a “powerful and compelling logic for the combination which would create a global leader in the business-to-business information markets.”

Under the terms of the proposed deal, Reuters investors would get 352-1/2 pence in cash and 0.16 Thomson stock for each share, worth 697 pence a share at Monday's closing prices, the two companies said in a joint statement. Thomson President and CEO Richard Harrington, who has transformed the company from traditional publishing to an electronic-based business, will retire on completion of the deal, at which point Reuters chief executive Tom Glocer will become chief executive of the combined company.

Thomson and Reuters said they expected to make over $500 million of annual synergies within three years of completion of a deal. The combined Thomson Financial unit and Reuters financial and media businesses will be called Reuters. The merged entity will adopt the Reuters trust principles aimed at safeguarding the independence of Reuters news, the joint statement said.

Thomson, Reuters Group PLC and Bloomberg LP all compete aggressively in what is known as the "terminal" market, for the data terminals on desks at the world's major banks and brokerages. Reuters was the market leader for many years, though it has steadily lost ground to Bloomberg.

An April report from Inside Market Data Reference said Bloomberg has 33 per cent of the market share, with Reuters at 23 per cent and Thomson at 11 per cent. Thomson has transformed itself in the last decade from an owner of newspapers and other print products. It has built up its legal information business, and is about to sell Thomson Learning, its book division, for about $5 billion.

Reuters was born in 1851 when Paul Julius Reuter started sending stock market quotations between London and Paris via the new Calais-Dover cable.

Thomson was started by Roy Thomson, who established a business empire that began with a small radio station in northern Ontario. He bought his first newspaper in 1934.

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