* Thomson Reuters to buy Breakingviews for undisclosed sum
* Accelerates push into providing commentary
* Breakingviews head Dixon to run combined comment service
* Deal expected to close in eight weeks (Adds reports on Breakingviews price, shareholders)
By Robert MacMillan
The Breakingviews board has recommended that shareholders accept the offer, Thomson Reuters said on Wednesday, adding that the transaction should close within eight weeks.
The price was not disclosed. Media blog PaidContent.org put it at $18 million, mostly in cash.
The decision to buy Breakingviews pushes Reuters News further into the world of commenting on business and financial news.
Breakingviews Chairman Hugo Dixon will run the commentary service, which will operate separately from Reuters’ news reporting.
Thomson Reuters said it was talking to Jonathan Ford, who was hired last year to start the Reuters commentary service, about taking on other roles at Thomson Reuters. Dixon and Ford founded Breakingviews in 1999. Ford left in 2007.
Reuters decided to buy Breakingviews even after starting its own service because of the attractive price and the opportunity to accelerate the company’s push into commentary, Reuters Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger said.
Reuters employs about 20 people in its commentary service, and Breakingviews has about 17, Schlesinger said.
Asked whether there would be layoffs as a result of the deal, Schlesinger said no decision had been made.
“There may be a few people who end up leaving,” he said. “But the point of the deal is not to have a small team.”
Breakingviews distributes its columns to about 400 clients such as financial institutions, and reaches about 15,000 users, said Rob Cox, its U.S. editor.
It also distributes its articles in newspapers such as The New York Times (NYT.N), and Thomson Reuters said it expected to develop syndication relationships with other papers.
Thomson Reuters premium clients will have access to all the columns.
Breakingviews’ 40 shareholders include Dow Jones, which previously ran Breakingviews columns in The Wall Street Journal, and Roland Rudd, senior partner at public relations firm Finsbury, according to the Breakingviews website.
The deal comes a day after Thomson Reuters competitor Bloomberg LP said it would buy BusinessWeek magazine from McGraw-Hill Cos Inc MHP.N. (Reporting by Robert MacMillan; Editing by Martin Howell and Ted Kerr)