M&A

Thomson Frees Up $7.75B for Reuters Bid

Sale price for the company's education assets was ''quite a bit more than was expected by most analysts,'' notes one observer.
Stephen TaubMay 14, 2007

Thomson announced that it will sell its education assets for about $7.75 billion, presumably to free up cash with which to pursue its $17 billion-plus offer for Reuters.

The company elaborated that London-based Apax Partners and Toronto-based OMERS Capital Partners would buy Thomson Learning and Nelson Canada in a transaction expected to close in the third quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.

Last October, the Canadian information company, which operates from Stamford, Connecticut, announced that it planned to sell its Thomson Learning businesses, including those serving the higher education, careers, library reference, and corporate E-learning and E-testing markets. The goal, it stated in a press release late last week, is “to enable Thomson to pursue opportunities better aligned with its growth strategy and business model.”

John R. Kinsey, portfolio manager at Caldwell Securities in Toronto, told the Associated Press that the $7.75 billion was “quite a bit more than was expected by most analysts. That should augur well for their bid for Reuters.”

Meanwhile, British newspaper The Independent reported that The Reuters Founders Share Co., a trust of 15 executives who safeguard the editorial independence of the Reuters Group, is likely to approve the acquisition. The newspaper also reported, however, that the transaction could face a regulatory inquiry lasting up to a year.