Thomson Reuters to partner with CPPIB, Blackstone and GIC in $25B deal

01 February, 2018, 01:13 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • FSMNews

The private equity giant Blackstone is preparing an attack on Bloomberg's dominance of Wall Street and City trading floors via a $17bn (£12bn) debt-fuelled deal for control of the Thomson Reuters financial data business. 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 deal includes a provision that will require the Blackstone-led data partnership to purchase Reuters news for a minimum of $325 million annually over three decades.

The business 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. "The partnership with Blackstone provides an opportunity to increase efficiency and accelerate revenue growth through innovation and focus on creating uniquely compelling products for F&R's customers".

"As part of any proposed partnership, Thomson Reuters would retain a significant interest in the F&R business and would retain full ownership of its legal, tax & accounting and Reuters News businesses", Thomson Reuters said in the statement. The President and CEO of the new partnership will serve as a non-voting member of the board following the closing of the transaction. The news service is expected to continue to supply Eikon and other products, according to a report by Reuters.

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Use the balance (estimated at $9 - $11 billion) to repurchase shares via a substantial issuer bid/tender offer made to all common shareholders following the closing of the transaction. The company also expects to report adjusted EPS between $0.58 and $0.61. Woodbridge intends to maintain its ownership in the 50% to 60% range.

Bloomberg had a 33.4 percent market share, according to 2016 data, compared with 23.1 for Thomson Reuters, according to Burton-Taylor International Consulting LLC.

The division for sale makes up about half of the company's profit. "We believe F&R is well positioned within Thomson Reuters, but it could be even stronger with a partner like Blackstone". The Thomsons, descended from company founder Roy Thomson, remain some of the richest people in Canada.

Canson Capital Partners, Bank of America's Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and JP Morgan were financial advisers to the Blackstone-led consortium, with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP providing legal advice.

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