Thomsons go back to news roots with sale of unit to Blackstone

The deal with Blackstone will give the Toronto-based company a financial jolt

David Thomson, the third-generation scion of Canada’s richest family, is retreating to his news roots with the sale of his company’s financial data business to Blackstone Group.

Thomson, whose grandfather Roy launched the media empire with a tiny radio station in 1931, agreed on Tuesday to sell a 55 per cent stake in the division to Blackstone, valuing the business at $20 billion.  Following a difficult decade that’s traced the ups and down of global finance, as well as upheaval in traditional media, Thomson is tearing apart the merger of Thomson Corp and Reuters Group that he orchestrated only a decade ago.

“This is a watershed moment in the history of the company,” Douglas B Taylor, managing partner of Burton-Taylor International Consulting, said by phone.  “For several years I thought we would one day see the family selling the financial data business.  Since the acquisition of Reuters there’s been a high level of discomfort.”

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