EC puts off Thomson-Reuters ruling


BRUSSELS -- The European Commission on Wednesday extended until March 10 the deadline for its decision on Canadian electronic publisher Thomson's $17.5 billion proposed takeover of Reuters.

The move came after Toronto-based Thomson and London-based Reuters asked for more time to compile the business data demanded by the EC, the European Union's antitrust regulator, which has indicated "serious concerns" that the deal could stifle competition in the supply of financial information.

With both companies holding extended media portfolios in markets across the EU, the commission is expected to demand sell-offs or changes to the way they do business.

The merged company would reduce the number of providers in the market of financial data provision from three to two: Thomson-Reuters with a combined market share of 34%, and Bloomberg with 33%.

However, Thomson insists there will be at least 20 competitors in its markets. And there are other wire services that compete with them on the broader news front, including the Associated Press, Dow Jones Newswires, and Agence France Presse.