Reuters Group plc (LSE: RTR and NASDAQ: RTRSY)
is a financial market data provider and news service
that provides reports from around the world to
newspapers and broadcasters. However, news reporting
accounts for less than 10% of the company's income.
Its main focus is on supplying the financial markets
with information and trading products. These include
market data, such as share prices and currency
rates, research and analytics, as well as trading
systems that allow dealers to buy and sell such
things as currencies and shares on a computer
screen instead of by telephone or on a trading
floor like that of the New York Stock Exchange.
Among other services, the most notable is analysis
of 40,000 companies, debt instruments, and 3 million
economic series. Competitors include Bloomberg
L.P. and Dow Jones Newswires.
Julius Reuter, born to a rabbi in Kassel, Germany,
noticed that, with the electric telegraph, news
no longer required days or weeks to travel long
distances. In 1850, the 34-year-old Reuter was
based in Aachen, Germany, close to the Dutch and
Belgian border, and began using the newly opened
Berlin–Aachen telegraph line to send news
to Berlin. But there was a 76-mile (122 km) gap
in the line between Aachen and Brussels. Reuter
spotted the opportunity to speed up news between
Brussels and Berlin by using homing pigeons to
bridge the gap in the line.
1851, Reuter moved to London as attempts to lay
a submarine telegraph cable from Dover to Calais
looked to be succeeding, after failures in 1847
and 1850. He set up his "Submarine Telegraph"
office in October 1851 just before the opening
of the cable in November, and agreed to a contract
with the London Stock Exchange to provide stock
prices from the continental exchanges in return
for access to the London prices, which he supplied
to Paris brokers.
1865, Reuter's private firm was restructured and
became a limited company called Reuter's Telegram
Company. Reuter had been naturalised as a British
subject in 1857.
agency built a reputation in Europe for being
the first to report scoops from abroad, like the
news of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
Today, almost every major news outlet in the world
subscribes to Reuters. It operates in 200 cities
in 94 countries, supplying text in 19 languages.
Edward G. Robinson starred in a Hollywood film
about the company called A Dispatch from Reuters
was floated as a public company in 1984 on the
London Stock Exchange and on NASDAQ in the US.
However, there were concerns that the company's
tradition for objective reporting might be jeopardised
if control of the company later fell into the
hands of a single shareholder. To counter this
possibility, the constitution of the company at
the time of flotation included a rule that no
individual was allowed to hold more than 15% of
the company. If this limit is exceeded the directors
can order the shareholder to reduce the holding
to less than 15%. This rule was applied in the
late 1980s when Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation,
which already held around 15% of Reuters, bought
an Australian news company which also had a holding
in Reuters. The acquisition meant that Murdoch
then held more than 15% and he was obliged to
reduce the holding to less than 15% in line with
the same time, as a further measure to protect
the independence of Reuters news reporting, The
Reuters Founders Share Company was set up. This
is a company whose sole task is to protect the
integrity of the company's news output. It holds
one "Founders Share" which can outvote
all other shares in the event that an attempt
is made to alter any of the rules relating to
the Reuters Trust Principles. These principles
set out the company's aim to preserve its independence,
integrity and freedom from bias in its news reporting.
began to grow rapidly in the 1980s, widening the
range of its business products and expanding its
global reporting network for media, financial
and economic services. Recent key product launches
include Equities 2000 (1987), Dealing 2000-2 (1992),
Business Briefing (1994), Reuters Television for
the financial markets (1994), 3000 Series (1996)
and the Reuters 3000 Xtra service (1999).
the mid-1990s the company had a brief foray into
the radio sector with London Radio's two stations,
London News 97.3 FM and London News Talk 1152
AM, which replaced LBC in 1994. A Reuters Radio
News service was also set up to compete with Independent
1995, Reuters established its "Greenhouse
Fund" to take minority investments in a range
of start-up technology companies, initially in
the United States.
May 15, 2007, The Thomson Corporation reached
an agreement with Reuters to combine the two companies,
a deal valued at US $17.2 billion. Thomson will
control about 53% of the new company, to be named
Thomson-Reuters. The new head of Thomson-Reuters
will be Tom Glocer, the current head of Reuters.
The earlier rule of 15% ownership (see above)
was waived; the reason as given by Pehr Gyllenhammar,
chairman of the Reuters Founders Share Company,
was "The future of Reuters takes precedence
over the principles. If Reuters were not strong
enough to continue on its own, the principles
would have no meaning." citing the recent
bad financial performance of the company.
October 2007, Reuters Market Light, a division
of Reuters launched a mobile phone service for
Indian farmers to provide local and customized
commodity pricing information, news and weather
has a team of several thousand journalists, who,
over the years, have covered major news events,
sometimes at the cost of their lives. In May 2000
Kurt Schork, an American reporter, was killed
in an ambush while on assignment in Sierra Leone.
In April and August 2003, news cameramen Taras
Protsyuk and Mazen Dana were lost at the hands
of the US forces in Iraq. During 2004, the company
lost cameramen Adlan Khasanov in Chechnya and
Dhia Najim in Iraq.
first Reuters journalist to be taken hostage in
action was Anthony Grey. Detained while covering
the Cultural Revolution in Peking in the late
1960s, said to be in response to the jailing of
several Chinese terrorists by the colonial British
Government in Hong Kong. He was considered to
be the first political hostage of the modern age
and was eventually released after almost 2 years
solitary confinement. Awarded an OBE by the British
Government in recognition of this, he went on
to become a best selling author.
May 1999, Reuters entered a joint venture with
long-time rival, Dow Jones & Company, to form
Factiva, a business news and information provider.
In December 2006 Reuters sold its 50% share in
Factiva to Dow Jones, who is now the sole owner.
* TIBCO Software:
July 1999 TIBCO completed an IPO on NASDAQ; Reuters
retains a substantial proportion of the shares.
Reuters announced in early 2000 a range of major
initiatives designed to accelerate its use of
internet technologies, open new markets and migrate
its core business to an internet-based model.
May 2001 Instinet completed an IPO on NASDAQ;
Reuters sold its majority stake in Instinet to
The Nasdaq Stock Market in 2005.
* Bridge Information Systems:
September 28, 2001, completed the largest acquisition
in its history acquired certain businesses and
assets of Bridge Information Systems Inc. Also
during the year, the Group acquired 100% of Diagram
fip SA and 92% of ProTrader Group LP. In October
2001, the Group disposed of its majority stake
in VentureOne Corp.
* AVT Technologies;
December 2002, Reuters announced that it would
acquire AVT Technologies, a specialist in foreign
exchange transaction technology. Concurrent with
the deal, Reuters established an Automated Dealing
Technologies business unit, headed up by Mark
Redwood, CEO of AVT Technologies.
* Multex.com Inc.:
March 2003, Reuters acquired Multex.com, Inc.,
a provider of global financial information.
* EcoWin AB:
November 2005, Reuters acquired also EcoWin AB,
Inc., a provider of global fianancial, equities,
and economic data.
June 2006, Reuters acquired Application Networks,
Inc., a provider of trade and risk management
software based on JRisk, and agrees to acquire
Feri Fund Market Information Ltd (FERI FMI) and
its fund database subsidiary, FI Datenservice
June 2007, Reuters acquired Clearforest, a provider
of Text Analytics solutions, whose tagging platform
and analytical products allow clients to derive
business information from textual content.
* Action Images:
September 19 2005, Reuters purchased North London-based
Action Images, a deep collection of sports photography
that includes more than 8 million images of which
1.7 million are online.
1939, the Reuters corporate headquarters was in
London's famous Fleet Street, but in 2005 Reuters
moved to a larger building in the more modern
Canary Wharf. The Reuters Building at 30 South
Colonnade is near the One Canada Square tower,
Jubilee Park and Canary Wharf tube station. The
open space below the Reuters building has since
been renamed Reuters Plaza.
company's North American headquarters is the Reuters
Building at 3 Times Square, New York. It is on
7th Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets, and
was constructed from 1998 to 2001.
news organization has been accused of showing
an anti-Israel and anti-American bias, by sources
such as the conservative National Review and The
Wall Street Journal's editorial division.
became a point of controversy in September of
2001, regarding their coverage of the September
11, 2001 attacks. Reuters global news editor Stephen
Jukes wrote, "We all know that one man's
terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and
that Reuters upholds the principle that we do
not use the word terrorist." The Washington
Post media critic Howard Kurtz responded, "After
the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and again after
the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon,
Reuters allowed the events to be described as
acts of terror. But as of last week, even that
terminology is banned." Reuters later apologized
for this characterization of their policy, although
they maintained the policy itself.
September 20, 2004 edition of the The New York
Times reported that Reuters Global Managing Editor,
David A. Schlesinger, objected to Canadian newspapers
editing Reuters articles through inclusion of
the word "terrorist," stating that "my
goal is to protect our reporters and protect our
to this policy, Reuters was careful to only use
the word "terrorist" in quotes, whether
quotations or scare quotes. However, when reporting
the 7 July 2005 London bombings, the service reported,
"Police said they suspected terrorists were
behind the bombings." The contrast between
this and their aforementioned policy was criticized,
although by that point Reuters policy was to use
such words "when we are quoting someone directly
or in indirect speech," and this headline
is an example of the latter. The news organization
has subsequently used the term "terrorist"
without quotations when the article clarifies
that it is someone else's words.
was accused of bias against Israel in its coverage
of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, in which
- among other actions - the company used two doctored
photos by a Lebanese freelance photographer Adnan
Hajj. On August 7, 2006, Reuters announced it
severed all ties with Hajj and said his photographs
would be removed from its database. Critics alleged
that removing Hajj dealt with only a symptom of
much deeper problems at the news organization:
bias and widespread use of local freelance photographers,
which can result in Reuters inadvertently acting
as a "propaganda outlet" (Credit: