Reuters boss upbeat on bid from Thomson

by Kaho Shimizu

Reuters Chief Executive Officer Thomas Glocer said in Tokyo Wednesday he is optimistic that European Union antitrust regulators will clear Canada-based Thomson Corp.’s $17.6 billion bid to acquire the British news agency.

Now that the initial probe is finished, the European Commission said Monday that it will conduct another one to assess the deal’s impact on competition in the financial services industry.

“What the EU competition authorities . . . are looking at are not the media concentrations because there is essentially no overlap between the current Thomson revenue base and Reuters’ media,” Glocer said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo.

“They are looking at very specific aspects of the financial services market,” because competitive conditions in the financial services industry are complex, he said. He stressed that it is common for antitrust authorities to go into a further probe.

Reuters Group PLC and Thomson expect the investigation to be completed in the first quarter of 2008.

Regarding the news services, Glocer said that it is not enough to provide just content in this industry anymore because competition is fierce and investors and professionals are demanding faster, more accurate and more deeply integrated information from reliable sources.

Financial services firms, he said, will have to offer customized services by delivering specific content to specific customers right away.

To this end, a massive investment to establish new software tools is necessary, he said, and the combination of Reuters and Thomson will enable the two companies to effectively enhance customer services together.

Glocer said Reuters will continue to shift from general news to financial and professional services.

“We have wonderful news assets, but they tend to be very professional, very serious, and perhaps out of keeping with what really sells in large media markets today.”