Thomson Reuters confirms acquisition talks with Blackstone

Thomson Reuters confirms acquisition talks with Blackstone

Thomson Reuters is in advanced talks with US private equity outfit Blackstone over the acquisition of a majority stake in its financial and risk business.

The financial and risk unit, which provides market data, analytics and trading terminals to banks worldwide, generates more than half of Thomson Reuters annual turnover, reporting $6.1 billion in revenues in 2016.

In a statement, the information powerhouse said the discussion may or may not lead to a definitive agreement: "Thomson Reuters does not expect to comment further on market speculation or disclose any further developments unless and until it determines that further disclosure is appropriate or required."

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.

Thomson Reuters would receive more than $17 billion for the deal, Reuters reports, including about $4 billion in cash from Blackstone and about $13 billion financed by new debt taken on by the new F&R partnership. The whole F&R business is valued at about $20 billion, consisting of about $7 billion in equity and $13 billion in debt, they said.

“The progress we have made turning around the F&R business and its future potential are reflected by Blackstone’s interest,” Thomson Reuters chief executive Jim Smith wrote in a staff memo seen by Reuters. “We believe F&R is well positioned within Thomson Reuters, but it could be even stronger with a partner like Blackstone.”

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