Financial information is king and Thomson Reuters Corporation holds the crown. The company is the market leader in financial data (ahead of rival information provider Bloomberg). Thomson Reuters provides electronic information and services to businesses and professionals worldwide, serving the financial services, media, legal, tax and accounting, and science markets. Data is primarily offered online, and to a lesser extent via CD-ROM and print formats; nearly all revenues come from subscription sales to its plethora of offerings. Thomson Reuters was created in 2008 as the result of the $16 billion cash and stock purchase of news service Reuters by information provider The Thomson Corporation.
The company failed to meet expectations with regards to its 2011 financial performance. While revenues improved only slightly, that year it reported a net loss of nearly $1.4 billion, compared to profits of $909 million in 2010. In 2011 the company reported increased tax expenses as well as a goodwill impairment charge. Its troubles were largely due to lower financial services revenues and profits stemming from a challenging macroeconomic environment for its financial and media businesses. Two key customer segments were hit particularly hard - global banks and large law firms.
Hoping to turn things around, in 2012 the company reorganized into four units. It did so in order to streamline the business and operate more efficiently. Its core units now include Thomson Financial & Risk, Thomson Reuters, Legal, Thomson Tax & Accounting, and Thomson Intellectual Property & Science.
Prior to 2012, the company's Markets division (most of which transferred to Financial & Risk) accounted for more than half of Thomson Reuters revenues. The unit consisted of its financial and media businesses, home to established brands and products such as Omgeo, Lipper, and Tradeweb. The division completed its integration of Reuters at the close of 2011.
Markets also includes tools such as the Thomson Reuters Eikon and Thomson Reuters Elektron platforms. Eikon is its a flagship financial data product that directly competes with Bloomberg's financial terminals and free online information; the desktop product incorporates Internet-style search, display, and navigation tools. Elektron is an ultra low-latency electronic trading and data distribution platform.
The company's Legal business is its second-largest unit, accounting for some 30% of revenues. It includes brands such as Elite (business management software), Round Table Group (expert witness consulting services to litigators), Complinet (compliance information solutions), and WestlawNext (flagship online legal information service).
Thomson Reuters in 2012 divested its Healthcare business, formerly part of its Science unit (which was renamed from Thomson Healthcare & Science to Thomson Intellectual Property & Science in 2011). After putting a sale on hold in 2011 due to unfavorable market conditions, in 2012 Thomson Reuters sold the business to an affiliate of Veritas Capital for $1.25 billion in cash. The company said the healthcare division was less integrated with its other operations, and also lacked the global scale of the rest of the business.
The company no doubt considered the gains from its Healthcare sale when it acquired electronic currencies trading platform FX Alliance later that year for some $616 million. Before the deal closed, an average $154 billion worth of trades a day in one month flowed through Thomson Reuters, while an average of $98.6 billion went through FX Alliance in one month. The combination of the two creates the biggest electronic trading pool in foreign exchange.
Thomson Reuters has a truly global scale indeed. The company operates in more than 100 countries, and more than 40% of revenues come from outside the Americas. The business has US offices in New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Texas, and international offices in London and Bangalore, India.
The Thomson family, through its Woodbridge investment firm, owns 55% of Thomson Reuters. – less