Thomson Reuters confirms talks to sell stake in financial unit to Blackstone

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Thomson Reuters confirms talks to sell stake in financial unit to Blackstone

Thomson Reuters is in advanced talks with United States private equity outfit Blackstone over the acquisition of a majority stake in its financial and risk business.

The new partnership will be managed by a 10 person board composed of five representatives from Blackstone and four from Thomson Reuters.

The statement did not give any more details.

According to the sources, Thomson Reuters would receive more than $17bn for the deal, including about $4bn in cash from Blackstone and about $13bn financed by new debt taken on by the new F&R partnership, two of the sources said.

Kim Williams, chairman of the Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company, was not available for immediate comment.

If the board agrees to a deal with Blackstone, it would represent the biggest shake-up of Thomson Reuters since it was formed a decade ago by Thomson Corp's acquisition of Reuters Group Plc.

In 2012, Thomson Reuters sold its healthcare unit, which provided data and analysis to hospitals, government agencies and employers, to Veritas Capital for $1.25bn.

Earlier, Bloomberg reported that Blackstone was considering buying a 55% holding in the business, which provides data, analytics and trading platforms to Wall Street and financial professionals around the world.

"As a long-term value investor, we believe this business transformation will enable F&R to focus on its core customer base and be in a strong position to continue delivering innovative products to the market", said Choo Yong Cheen, chief investment officer of private equity at GIC.

Woodbridge, the investment vehicle of Canada's Thomson family and Thomson Reuters principal shareholder, will participate in the bid/tender offer.

America's largest private equity firm is seeking to enter the market for traders' terminals via a $17 billion partnership with Thomson Reuters.

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