The $17 billion takeover of Reuters Group PLC by Canada's Thomson Corp., has been going through a long approval process. Finally the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as regulatory authorities in Europe and Canada (where Thomson is based), cleared Thomson's purchase of Reuters on Tuesday, creating a financial-data giant, on the condition that the companies divest some assets. An investigation by the EU and the U.S. DOJ's antitrust division concluded that the takeover would have eliminated competition between the two main suppliers for financial data in areas including broker reports, analyst earnings estimates and some key macroeconomic data.
Both Thomson and Reuters have agreed to divest themselves of copies of databases that include financial-information products, together with assets, staff and customer bases within six months, to let a buyer quickly compete against the merged Thomson Reuters. The idea is to encourage other parties to compete to allay the anticompetitive effect of reducing the number of players in the financial database business from three to two.
The deal will claim roughly 34% of the global financial-information market.