Thomson Gets Busy with Acquisition Possibilities

By Carmen Comment

First there’s news on what Thomson is trying to unload, as Reuters reports that bids for the company’s educational arm have reached the final round, with Providence Equity Partners and Apax Partners rumored as the latest private equity partners to join together for an offer with the unit expected to fetch well above $5 billion thanks to strong demand. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Carlyle Group are also said to be interested, though a separate source close to the matter said the two firms are not partnered on the deal. Previous press accounts put the two together in the auction.

And speaking of Reuters, the Financial Times reports that a merger between the news organization and Thomson is well underway, as outline details between the two companies were disclosed on Tuesday, which would value Reuters’ equity at around 8.8bn pounds, or 697p a share. Under the plans Tom Glocer, Reuters’ chief executive, would become chief executive of the combined company, which would be called Thomson-Reuters. Richard Harrington, Thomson president and chief executive, would retire.

There are still a number of hurdles to be surmounted before a deal could be completed, and the two said “much has still to be resolved and there can be no assurance that agreement will be reached.” However, they said there was “a powerful and compelling logic” for a merger to “create a global leader in the business-to-business information markets”.