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Healthcare sale could raise $1 billion for Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters could reap $1 billion from the sale of its healthcare division to reinvest in professional information and services in faster-growing markets such as Latin America and Asia.

James Smith, chief executive of the group’s professional division, told the Financial Times it had decided to sell the unit because expanding it to fit Thomson Reuters’ more international focus would have required heavy investment.

Thomson Reuters has begun to use the Reuters brand and infrastructure to widen its reach, the FT said.

“We could not have grown organically without the global footprint we acquired with Reuters. It made a profound difference to the way we think about ... our companies,” Smith said.

Thomson Reuters has asked for offers for the whole business, which Bernstein Research and BNP Paribas have valued at between $850 million and $1.2 billion. The healthcare business has three main divisions, focusing on insurance claims data, analytics for hospitals and clinical content – all heavily skewed to the US market.

The FT said Bernstein estimates disposals and free cash flow could allow Thomson Reuters to fund up to $5 billion of acquisitions by next year, but Smith said it was looking at smaller “fold-in” deals as well as potential investments in new products and services.

The professional division accounts for 43 per cent of group revenues and spans legal, tax, accounting, scientific and regulatory information. Peter Warwick, the division’s chief operating officer, said it was looking to Latin America, India, the Middle East and China, where it faces less competition from traditional professional information providers. “The future really lies in a blend of information, applications and services,” he said. ■

Financial Times