CHRONOLOGY: Reuters, from pigeons to multimedia merger

Tue May 15, 2007 6:16am EDT

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(Reuters) - Financial news and information provider Reuters Group Plc RTR.L has agreed to the $17.2 billion takeover approach from Canada's Thomson Corp. TOC.TO, the companies announced on Tuesday.

Following is a chronology of key moments in Reuters' long history:

1851 - German-born Paul Julius Reuter opened an office in the City of London which transmitted stock market quotations between London and Paris via the new Calais-Dover cable.

Reuter had previously used pigeons to fly stock prices between Aachen and Brussels, a service that operated for a year until a gap in the telegraph link was closed.

1870s - As overland telegraph and undersea cable facilities developed, Reuters expanded beyond Europe to the Far East in 1872 and South America in 1874.

1925 - The Press Association took a majority holding in Reuters.

1927 - Reuters introduced the teleprinter to distribute news to London newspapers.

1939 - Reuters moved its corporate HQ to 85 Fleet Street.

During both World Wars, Reuters came under pressure from the British government to serve British interests.

In 1941 Reuters deflected this pressure by restructuring itself as a private company. The new owners, the British national and provincial press, formed the Reuters Trust, with independent trustees.

The Trust preserves Reuters independence and neutrality. The principles of the Trust were maintained, and the power to enforce them was strengthened when Reuters became a public company in 1984. (See Reuters Independence and Trust Principles here).

1973 - Reuter Monitor launched, creating an electronic marketplace for foreign exchange. The service expanded to carry news and prices covering securities, commodities and money and led to the 1981 launch of the Reuter Monitor Dealing Service.

1984 - Reuters floated as a public company in London.

1995 - Reuters established its Greenhouse Fund' to take minority investments in a range of start-up technology companies, initially in the United States.

2000 - Reuters announced plans to accelerate its use of Internet technologies. Its shares set a record intraday high of 1,715 pence on March 7, days before the peak of the tech bubble.

2003 - Reuters unveiled Fast Forward, a three-year programme to make it more competitive. Its shares end a three-year decline when touching a low of 95.25 pence on March 12, having lost nearly 95 percent of their value. Staff are allowed to buy three-year options on up to 4,200 shares at 90 pence apiece.

2005 - Reuters consolidates most of its London-based operations into one building in the Canary Wharf financial district, east of London.

2007, May 4: - Reuters says it has received an approach.

2007, May 7: - Thomson confirms it has approached Reuters.

2007, May 15: - Thomson and Reuters say they have agreed a deal, valuing Reuters at $17.2 billion.

Sources: Company web site, Reuters news reports

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