Reuters releases last results before merger with Thomson

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The Independent Online

The end of era for another venerable British name drew closer yesterday after Reuters, the 156-year-old news organisation, unveiled its last financial results before it combines with Canadian rival Thomson to create a financial news and data behemoth.

Chief executive Tom Glocer, who will take the helm of the combined group when the deal is completed next month, said he was "hugely excited" about the imminent completion of the £8.7bn deal that was announced nearly a year ago.

He dismissed concerns that the tie-up would run into problems as so many do, arguing that the companies "don't have a clash of cultures". The transaction, which creates a group that will employ more than 2,400 journalists in 130 countries and will control a third of the financial information market, is "not a mega-merger", he said, but rather a combination of like-minded rivals.

Mr Glocer has targeted $500m in cost savings from the merger, though said he hopes that most job losses would come through natural attrition rather than large-scale layoffs. When it completes on 17 April, the company will be based in New York – Mr Glocer is relocating to the city from London – and will be listed on the exchanges in both cities.

The company enters the union in good shape. It pulled in £292m in trading profit for the year, up 14 per cent from the previous year once the £45m it spent on acquisition was stripped out. Paul Sullivan, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, called the numbers "surprisingly strong". He added: "As yet they have not seen any impact from the credit crunch."

The deal with Thomson was announced last May but has been slowed down by the various regulatory and antitrust inquiries in its respective jurisdictions. By contrast, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp announced its takeover of Dow Jones, owner of The Wall Street Journal, at about the same time and closed the transaction in December.

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