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Thomson Reuters beats estimates, sees higher 2018 revenue

  • Thomson Reuters reported slightly higher-than-expected first-quarter sales and earnings
  • The news and information provider also forecast low-single-digit growth in 2018 revenue in its remaining business.
  • The company is selling a majority stake of its financial & risk unit to private-equity firm Blackstone.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Thomson Reuters on Friday reported slightly higher-than-expected first-quarter sales and earnings, and forecast low-single-digit growth in 2018 revenue in its remaining business.

The news and information company announced earlier this year that it is selling a majority stake of its financial & risk unit to private-equity firm Blackstone.

Thomson Reuters reported quarterly revenue of $1.38 billion, up from $1.33 billion a year ago. Adjusted for special items, first-quarter earnings were 28 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting revenues of $1.36 billion and earnings of $0.27 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Thomson Reuters, the parent of Reuters News, competes for financial customers with Bloomberg as well as News Corp.'s Dow Jones unit.

The company said it expects adjusted EBITDA to range between $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion for the year in the remaining business.

The company's legal business reported revenue of $872 million in the first quarter, up 2 percent excluding currency. The Tax & Accounting unit reported revenue of $437 million, up 5 percent when factoring out currency.

Thomson Reuters's news division reported $72 million in revenue, down 7 percent from a year ago.

After the Blackstone deal, Thomson Reuters will focus on expanding its Legal, Tax & Accounting and Regulatory businesses, the company has said.

In the quarter, the Financial and Risk business grew revenues 3 percent in constant currency to $1.58 billion. The unit is now counted as discontinued operations.

Under the agreement, the new F&R company will make minimum annual payments of $325 million to Reuters over 30 years to secure access to its news service, equating to almost $10 billion. The payments will be adjusted for inflation.

Thomson Reuters announced a new $500 million share repurchase program.