Blackstone Group LP in advanced talks to acquire Thomson Reuters’ F&R business for more than $17 billion

Thomson Reuters’ Financial and Risk business accounts for more than 50% of the group’s total revenues.

As per 3 sources familiar with the matter at hand, Blackstone Group LP, a private equity firm, is in advanced talks to With Thomson Reuters Corp to acquire a 55% stake in its Financial and Risk business for more than $17 billion.

As per the sources, Thomson Reuters’ board is expected to meet on Tuesday to discuss Blackstone’s all-cash offer for its F&R unit, which provides news, data and analytics to investment houses and banks around the world.

Significantly, the business contributes to more than 50% of Thomson Reuters’ annual revenues.

In a statement, Thomson Reuters said “it is in advanced discussions with Blackstone regarding a potential partnership in its F&R business” without giving any further details.

A spokeswoman for Blackstone declined to comment.

If Thomson Reuters’ board agrees to the proposal, it would represent the biggest shake-up in the firm since its creation when Canada’s Thomson purchased UK’s Reuters for 8.7 billion pounds ($17 billion at the exchange rate at that time) in 2008.

According to sources, under the terms of Blackstone’s offer, Thomson Reuters would retain a 45% stake in the F&R business. Thomson Reuters will retain its international news service along with its accounting, Legal and Tax division.

Further Reuters is expected to continue its supply of news to F&R’s desktop product Eikon, as well as to other products; their details however could not be presently determined.

It is as yet unclear who would lead the new company.

Sources have preferred the cover of anonymity since the negotiations are confidential. Furthermore, they have cautioned that a deal may not come through and could potentially fall apart.

Incidentally, it is unclear how Blackstone’s proposed deal is viewed by the trustees of Thomson Reuters Founders Share Co, which came into being to oversee the editorial independence of Reuters when the company went public in the 1980s.

Thomson Reuters Founders Share Co Chairman Kim Williams did not respond to requests for comment.

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