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The Baron is ten years old

Ten years, more than 2,000 reports, nearly 1,200 comments by readers, and hundreds of thousands of page views.

It’s the tenth anniversary of The Baron as the online source that has become essential reading for anyone interested in topical and historical information about Reuters and those who made it the world’s greatest news organisation and who now work to keep it on top.

There have been four versions of the website. The current design, introduced four years ago, brought a fresher look and much improved functionality. None of this would have been possible without the encouragement and support of readers who have generously donated funds to keep it going and contributed items of interest to share with colleagues past and present.

Whenever possible, The Baron has recorded the successes of the company and its people; sometimes it has caused discomfort to those in charge. That is as it should be for an independent website.

Its launch on 16 June 2008 occurred only a few weeks after the Thomson organisation completed its acquisition of Reuters. The timing was purely coincidental.

Since then, most of those senior executives who originally joined the Reuters part of the organisation have left the merged group, as have thousands of others in offices around the world.

Control of the most lucrative part of the business, the global terminals and data enterprise that made Reuters such an attractive takeover target ten years ago and became Thomson Reuters’ financial and risk division, is being sold to private equity. The transaction involves the transfer of roughly half of Thomson Reuters’ 45,000 staff to a new company dominated by the world’s biggest specialist in tax-efficient debt financing, restructuring and resale, Blackstone. Executives of both sides in what they term a strategic partnership are working to complete the process in the next few months, possibly weeks.

The news agency founded in 1851 by Paul Julius Reuter - the first Baron de Reuter - will remain under the sole direction of Thomson Reuters as its prized corporate trophy. Reuters’ largest single customer by far will be the new private business. And The Baron will still be here to report its fortunes. ■