What Is Reuters?

Reuters is a global information and news provider headquartered in London, England, that serves professionals in the financial, media, and corporate markets. Reuters was a standalone global news and financial information company until it was bought by Thomson Financial Corporation in 2008.

The parent company, now known as Thomson Reuters Corporation, is headquartered in New York City. Its stock is listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges.

Key Takeaways

  • Created from the Thomson Corporation's 2008 acquisition of Reuters, Thomson Reuters is a comprehensive multinational media and financial data and news resource.
  • Reuters began as an early stock market data service for the London Stock Exchange, relying on telegraph and carrier pigeon to disseminate information.
  • From the 1970s-2000s, Reuters developed increasingly sophisticated electronic trading platforms and data feeds for professional traders and broker-dealers.

Understanding Reuters

The core strength of Thomson Reuters is in providing content, analytics, trading, and messaging capabilities needed by financial professionals via its Thomson Reuters Eikon system. The Reuters news agency offers text, graphics, video, and pictures to subscribers around the world, including general interest and business news. The company also offers both general and business news via its proprietary news website, reuters.com.

Reuters is part of the Thomson Reuters Corporation. It is both a global news agency and a major provider of financial markets trading and analytical software.

Today, Reuters is one of the world's largest international news agencies. It provides tailor-made broadcast news and print reports to media outlets worldwide on subjects ranging from terrorism and politics to entertainment and sports. It employs over 2,600 journalists in more than 200 locations worldwide and reports in 16 languages.

History

Paul Julius Reuter established Reuter's Telegram Company in London in 1851 with an emphasis on providing business news quickly via both telegraph and carrier pigeons.

The company signed a ground-breaking contract with the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to provide information on Paris stock exchange prices in exchange for conveying London prices overseas.

The agency's first newspaper client was the London Morning Advertiser, and more followed. The company became known for its international reach, and it was reportedly the first European newsgroup to break the news of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865.

Reuters was a major international news agency by the mid-20th century.

Reuters Dealing System

By the mid-1970s, the company's financial information terminals were ubiquitous in banks and financial institutions. By 1981, the company began to offer subscribers the ability to conduct financial transactions via its network of terminals. The Reuters Dealing 2000-2 system was released in 1992, and it revolutionized trading by eliminating the need for a broker.

The Reuters Dealing 3000 debuted in 1999. It incorporated live market data, trading, and automated matching of trades between counterparties, placement, and execution of orders, secure messaging, and data analysis that incorporated Microsoft Excel functionality. The Dealing 3000 system was used to trade foreign exchange, stocks, bonds, options, and commodities.

The Dealing 3000 system was replaced by the Thomson Reuters Eikon system in 2013 (now known as the Refinitv Eikon). The software can be run on a desktop or mobile device. It is the number two financial markets software system, with over 190,000 users and 23 percent of the market. The Bloomberg Terminal is first with 33 percent.

Thomson’s Acquisition of Reuters 

After reviewing the merger of the two companies, the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission approved the transaction. But the deal was subject to certain minor divestments and was later cleared by the Canadian Competition Bureau.

On April 17, 2008, the Thomson Corporation officially acquired Reuters Group PLC, forming Thomson Reuters. Both of its parent companies—Thomson Reuters Corporation and Thomson Reuters PLC—were listed publicly.

In 2009, it stopped listing on the LSE and Nasdaq, unifying its dual-listed company. It is currently only listed as Thomson Reuters on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). Between 2008 and 2018, Thomson Reuters has completed roughly 200 additional acquisitions, including companies that focus on software systems, computing, financial data, media, analytics, and legal tools.