April 21, 2018

Blackstone in talks with Thomson Reuters over $20bn stake

31 January 2018, 07:32 | Lionel James

Blackstone in Talks Over Deal With Thomson Reuters Unit

Thomson Reuters in advanced talks to sell financial and risk business to Blackstone

A spokeswoman for Blackstone declined to comment.

According to the sources, Thomson Reuters would receive more than $17bn for the deal, including about $4bn in cash from Blackstone and about $13bn financed by new debt taken on by the new F&R partnership, two of the sources said.

It now controls a third of the market, compared to less than a quarter for Thomson Reuters. Reuters News will continue to have complete editorial independence from F&R and Thomson Reuters, as it does today.

Reuters was unable to determine who would lead the new division.

Thomson Reuters, which is based in Toronto, said it would retain a significant interest in the financial and risk business after any deal and would retain full ownership of its legal, tax and accounting, and news operations.

Thomson Reuters shares have retreated since October after third-quarter revenue missed analysts' estimates.

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According to reports from Reuters, Blackstone is seeking a 55% stake in the business, which has been in the doldrums since the 2008 crash but is now viewed as an undervalued asset in a market characterised by robust growth and a slew of new data-hungry regulatory measures.

Blackstone has some experience in the information business. "We believe F&R is well positioned within Thomson Reuters, but it could be even stronger with a partner like Blackstone".

The biggest sticking point during negotiations had been what the partnership would mean for Reuters News, the worldwide news agency, which supplies the Thomson Reuters Eikon terminal with headlines, stories and analysis, said the two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

America's largest private equity firm is seeking to enter the market for traders' terminals via a $17 billion partnership with Thomson Reuters.

Canada's Thomson family controls more than 63 percent of Thomson Reuters shares through Woodbridge Co Ltd.

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