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UPDATE 1-Thomson Reuters reports higher revenue in fourth quarter

(Adds comparison to estimates, background on Blackstone deal, segment performance)

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Thomson Reuters Corp beat earnings expectations in the fourth quarter even as revenue slightly missed Wall Street's forecasts.

The news and information company reported quarterly revenue of $2.94 billion, up 3 percent.

Net earnings were $591 million, or 81 cents per share, down from $2.24 billion, or $3.03 per share a year earlier.

Adjusted for special items, earnings were 60 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, were looking for profit of 58 cents per share, and revenue of $2.95 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Last week, U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group LP announced a $20-billion deal to buy a 55-percent stake in Thomson Reuters' Financial and Risk business, which provides news and analytics to financial services companies. That deal is expected to close in the second half of 2018.

Thomson Reuters said last week it would not provide earnings guidance for 2018.

Net sales in the Financial & Risk division, Thomson Reuters' biggest unit, were positive for the quarter.

Revenue for the unit rose 1 percent to $1.55 billion excluding currency. Under the deal with Blackstone, Thomson Reuters will retain a 45-percent stake in Financial & Risk.

Thomson Reuters, which is the parent of Reuters News, competes for financial customers with Bloomberg LP, as well as News Corp's Dow Jones unit. (Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Editing by Nick Zieminski)