Reuters is captured
The reason for the deal is that both businesses are world leaders in providing information services to banks and investors: they believe that within four years they'll generate at last £250m per annum of incremental profit from getting together.
However the takeover is controversial because of Reuters’ other more famous - though smaller - business: a newsagency providing images and copy to media groups all over the world.
Its work in war-zones such as Iraq has been particularly valuable.
Reuters’ editorial principles of integrity, independence and freedom from bias are world renowned. Those principles are guaranteed by the structure of the business - which prohibits any individual from owning 15 per cent or more of the company. That prohibition is being waved for the Thomson family, which will end up owning 53 per cent of the enlarged business.
The guardians of the editorial principles are 18 eminences who are directors of Reuters Founders Share Company, a special vehicle which has the power to repel all boarders. Why have they caved? Well the Thomson family insists it will honour Reuters’ editorial principles.
Reuters’ journalists are unhappy. There will be concerns that over time Reuters’ general news operations will become marginalised within an outfit that sees its future as supplying intelligence and tools to those who operate in global financial markets.
But don't expect many newspapers to campaign against the possible, long term threat to news standards and editorial impartiality. Among the British national press, the number of newspaper groups not controlled by individuals or dynasties can be counted on precisely three fingers.