The Commission has decided to open an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed combination of Thomson of Canada and Reuters of the UK. The Commission's initial market investigation indicates that the proposed merger would raise serious doubts as regards adverse effects on competition in several markets of the financial information sector. The decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. The Commission now has 90 working days (until 25 February 2008) to take a final decision on whether the proposed transaction would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.
Both Thomson and Reuters are leading financial information providers. The companies source, aggregate and disseminate market data content needed by financial professionals such as banks, fund managers, corporates, wealth managers and traders. Both companies also provide trading capabilities to their customers. In addition, Thomson is active in legal, fiscal, accounting and scientific research markets whereas Reuters is best known as one of the largest international news agencies.
On 3 September 2007, Thomson notified the Commission of its project to acquire Reuters' activities through a dual listed company structure which would be controlled by Thomson.
The Commission's initial market investigation highlighted that the concentration would raise competition concerns notably with regard to the supply of financial information, such as the provision of data-feeds, the access to specific financial information databases commercialised by the notifying parties, the access to real-time and aftermarket research (broker reports) and the provision of news services. Most of these products are predominantly used in off-trading floor activities of financial institutions.
During its in-depth market investigation, the Commission will notably investigate whether the combination of Thomson and Reuters would be likely to give rise to adverse effects since the merger combines two leading providers of such data or content. This may have an impact on other providers of financial information which integrate the financial products concerned into their own offerings, as well as on financial institutions and final customers of such products. [8 October 07]