Thomson Confirms It Approached Reuters About Potential Deal

Electronic publisher Thomsonconfirmed on Monday that it has approached Reuters Groupregarding a potential takeover of the financial data and news company.

Thomson said in a brief statement that it had made a "preliminary" approach to Reuters' board of directors that "may or may not lead to an offer being made for Reuters."

The company added a further announcement would come "in due course" and did not give any indication regarding the value of any potential offer. A spokesman had no further comment.

Reuters shares soared as much as 32% on Friday after reports that Thomson was in talks regarding a bid for London-based Reuters.

Thomson provides software, information and other applications for professionals in law, finance, health care and science. The company is selling its education division, which analysts estimate could fetch more than $5 billion.

The proceeds from the sale of the education unit, called Thomson Learning, could be used to help finance a purchase of Reuters.

Thomson Chief Executive Richard Harrington has said the proceeds would be spent on acquisitions and "tactical investments."

Harrington himself is no stranger to dealmaking: Thomson announced at least 35 asset purchases or sales since he started at the company's helm in October 1997.

Thomson is controlled by its founding billionaire Thomson family, which owns 70% of its shares. The company is based in Toronto, but runs its business out of Stamford, Connecticut.