Though headquartered on Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia, Thomson Reuters IP & S is spread all over the country and indeed the world, a result of the acquisition strategy initiated by one of Thomson Reuters' predecessors, International Thomson, a Canadian outfit that grew out of a small newspaper.
Roy Thompson (The Lord Thomson of Fleet) later became a leading UK newspaper and media mogul, and further profited from a timely investment in North Sea oil. He needed a safe strategy to invest his wealth in. Besides newspapers (still considered attractive back then) and text books, Thomson's son and successor (he used the title in the UK, but not while in Canada) discovered specialized professional database publishing.
People had collected and published professional information sources for centuries, but computerization opened up new methods of storing, manipulating and displaying information, making it more valuable. Thomson Reuters IP&S doesn't have any one single business that is huge. Rather they are in defensible niches that are difficult for anyone else to duplicate or disrupt. IP & S sold for approximately 3.5x revenue, a multiple justified only by its predictable cash flow for a low growth business.
International Thomson was later merged with other Thomson properties into Thomson Corporation, which acquired Reuters in 2008 to form Thomson Reuters. David Thomson, the 3rd Lord Thomson of Fleet and grandson of Roy, is chairman.
The information business - particularly medical and scientific, has long been a mainstay of Philadelphia's commercial success. Some properties or titles date to back to colonial or early American times. Reed Elsevier (now RELX Group ) and Wolters Kluwer are other major owners with a Philadelphia presence. Europeans were often ahead of Americans in seeing the long-term value of these businesses. And now, Asian money and market potential were evidently keys to yesterday's transaction.
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