London: Financial information company Thomson Corporation today said it has made a preliminary approach for possibly acquiring Reuters Group Plc, which runs one of the world’s leading news agencies as well as other financial data businesses.
On 4 May, Reuters Group Plc said it received an unsolicited takeover offer without saying from whom.
The London-listed news service company had said in a regulatory statement then that “the board of Reuters confirms it has received a preliminary approach from a third party which may or not lead to an offer being made for Reuters”.
Thomson, in a statement here, said that the move “may or may not lead to an offer being made for Reuters” and “a further announcement will be made in due course.”
The financial information provider has 32,000 employees and had sales of $6.6 billion (Rs26,908 crore) in 2006. Its shares fell 2 cents to close at $19.45 in trading yesterday.
The shares of Reuters closed at 615.75 pence, up 25% on the London Stock Exchange yesterday.
The takeover call for Reuters came on the heels of media baron Rupert Murdoch making a $5 billion hostile bid for US-based media giant Dow Jones group, which also owns news brands like The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires.
As per Reuter’s constitution, the Reuters Founder Share Co, which is run by 15 trustees, can block any hostile bid with a single “golden” share.
The trustees have been assigned a job to ensure the news organisation’s “independence, integrity and freedom from bias.” However, the trustees cannot block an agreed takeover offer in such a way.