Board tension at Thomson Reuters over deal
Thomson Reuters Corp., the parent of the Reuters financial news service, recently pressed ahead with plans to sell part of its business to Blackstone Group LP for $17 billion despite chairman David Thomson’s concerns that directors failed to seek a higher price or consider other buyers, reports Jacquie McNish and David Wighton of The Wall Street Journal.
McNish and Wighton report, “Kenneth Olisa, a long-serving Thomson Reuters director, resigned in protest over the Blackstone deal because he shared concerns with both David Thomson and David’s brother and fellow director Peter, the people said. Some other directors initially expressed concern that the company did not seek out other buyers to improve the purchase price, they said.
“But a majority of directors of Thomson Reuters ultimately lined up behind Messrs. Smith, Binet and Clark because they felt the deal was in the best interest of both the family and minority shareholders, one person close to the deal said.
“Mr. Clark, Mr. Binet and Messrs. Thomson did not respond to requests for comment. Thomson Reuters declined to comment. A Blackstone spokesman had no immediate comment Wednesday.
“David Thomson ultimately voted for the sale, announced two weeks ago, along with his brother Peter after it was clear a majority of directors supported it, according to people close to the deal. Blackstone’s offer for the Thomson Reuters stake is structured as a binding deal that remains subject to review only by regulators, people close to the deal said. No shareholder approval is required and any competing bidder would have to make an offer for all of Thomson Reuters which would significantly raise the price, the people said.”
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