Thomson-Reuters: Deal Approved By Both Firms; Online Competition May Help Pass The Deal

Updated 2: The two companies have announced their official approval for the deal to go ahead, on the way to creating the world’s biggest financial news and data group.

Updated: WSJ is also reporting that the internal approval for the deal may come as early as today…of course the long (about 9-12 months, the story says) regulatory approval process still remains. Antitrust authorities in Europe and the U.S. are almost certain to apply a more detailed and lengthy review of the acquisition than is typical, because of the limited number of companies that supply the world’s banks, brokerage firms and investment houses with the prices, data, news and financial tools they need, the story says.

Original story: The fortnight-long dance, in which the Canadian B2B information provider has flirted with a $17.6 billion takeover of Reuters, could get internal approval this week (barring a long approval process from competition authorities), according to The Independent, which quotes a well-placed, but unnamed, banker close to the all-important Reuters Founders Share Company as saying the group is satisfied Thomson’s proposal will not have a negative impact on Reuters’ editorial independence. The 15-strong trust, which holds one super share that can trump other shareholders’ votes and which is reportedly due to meet this week to discuss terms this week, is one of two sets of people the pair of companies will need to satisfy if their takeover is to go ahead.

The other is regulators. On which, The Telegraph says Reuters and Thomson have instructed lawyers to ready a “cast iron” case in anticipation of possible competition investigations. Part of that will involve arguing that internet portals like Yahoo and Google are now major-league competitors to what will otherwise look like a duopoly between Thomson-Reuters and Bloomberg. One analyst tells The Independent any regulatory review could last up to a year, however.

The new-look company will give Reuters investors 24 percent and the Thomson 53 percent. Meanwhile, the UK’s National Union of Journalists has voiced concern over whether some £250 million ($500 million) in planned savings will result in job losses.

Our full Reuters-bid coverage is on this dedicated page here.