The Reuters Rumors

Monday Update: Thomson confirmed that it has made a “preliminary approach” for Reuters.

I’ve received dozens of emails this morning asking if the rumors are true that Thomson Financial has offered to buy Reuters. My official response – per internal dictate – is that I have no response. My unofficial response is that I have absolutely no idea, as my efforts to shimmy up the information totem poll have met with total failure.

In general, however, I do not believe the Reuters approach (no matter who made it) is a direct response to Murdoch’s bid for Dow Jones. It’s just too quick. I can’t imagine any large corporation – or even private equity firm – putting together even an informal offer for Reuters in less than three days. There is certainly the possibility that the approach was made weeks ago and that Murdoch/DJ promoted Reuters to ‘fess up, but that’s a far different scenario.

Moreover, I’m not so sure that big financial media companies like Thomson, Reuters, etc. are in a panic over the prospect of News Corp. acquiring Dow Jones. In fact, they might be thrilled – particularly if Murdoch is willing to eventually part with some of the more data-driven business units that don’t provide enough strategic value to his print, online and TV news business…

*** In a related download, here’s a Thomson research note on publishing sector M&A: PublishingM&A.pdf