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UPDATE 2-Thomson Reuters raises outlook, grows fastest since financial crisis

Georgina Prodhan

* 2019, 2020 results seen at upper end of guidance

* Organic revenue grows 4% in Q2

* Deal to sell Refinitiv to LSE agreed (Adds detail on divisions, outlook, shares)

LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Thomson Reuters Corp raised its sales and core profit outlook for 2019 and 2020 on Thursday after reporting 4% organic revenue growth for the second quarter, which it said was its best since 2008 and ahead of its expectations.

Growth was driven by recurring revenues at all three of its biggest units since the company sold a majority in its Financial and Risk business, now known as Refinitiv, to Blackstone last year - Legal, Corporates and Tax & Accounting.

The company also said that it and Blackstone had agreed to sell Refinitiv, which provides data and news to financial customers, to London Stock Exchange in a $27 billion all-share deal.

Dealmaking, new products and a $10 billion share buyback following the Blackstone deal have propelled Thomson Reuters stock 85 percent higher since May last year, and the shares hit an all-time high of C$90.04 earlier this week.

"We believe we are well positioned for future growth, and now expect 2019 and 2020 revenue growth and adjusted EBITDA to each be at the upper end of the guidance ranges previously provided," Chief Executive Jim Smith said in a statement.

The news and information provider and parent of Reuters News had forecast 2019 revenue growth of 7% to 8.5% before the effect of currency, and growth of about half that pace in 2020.

For EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization), Thomson Reuters had forecast $1.4-$1.5 billion for 2019, up from $1.4 billion in 2018, and an EBITDA margin of 30-31 percent for 2020.

In the second quarter, revenue rose to $1.42 billion from $1.31 billion a year ago as Thomson Reuters gained from payments it received from Refinitiv for its news service, broadly in line with analyst consensus of $1.43 billion.

Adjusted EBITDA rose 2 percent to $355 million, but the EBITDA margin declined to 25% from 26.6% a year earlier due to higher expenses related to separating the Refinitiv business from the rest of the company.

(Additional reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Patrick Graham Editing by Alexander Smith)

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