Thomson Reuters Acquires Highline Financial (Again)

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New York – Thomson Reuters announced yesterday its acquisition of Highline Financial, a data provider specializing in the U.S. banking sector, which will be integrated with its new Eikon platform next year.  Ironically, Thomson sold in 2004 the properties to Highline that it is now buying back.  Presumably, this time the product will be a keeper.

Highline Financial provides detailed data on the U.S. banking sector, including up to 20 years of regulatory data for banks, S&Ls and credit unions, as well as M&A banking history dating back to 1993.  Highline makes Thomson more competitive with SNL Financial, which has been collecting bank data since 1987, and gives it an edge against arch-rival Bloomberg LLP.

Highline Financial, formerly Highline Data, was part of a shell company created by Spire Capital Partners in 2003 when it acquired the assets of The National Underwriter Company, which published newsletters and other publications targeted to the insurance industry.

In 2004, Highline Data acquired insurance and banking data assets from Thomson Media, then a division of The Thomson Corporation, as it was spinning off its Sheshunoff Information Services properties which it had acquired in 1988.  Highline Data purchased Thomson’s insurance data, derived principally from National Association of Insurance Commissioners statutory data and banking data collected principally from federal regulatory authorities, as well as some proprietary financial, M&A and branch data on U.S. banks and financial institutions.

[At the same time, Thomson sold off the Sheshunoff print publishing assets back to Gabrielle Sheshunoff who in turn sold the properties in 2008 to Thompson Publishing Group.]

Financial terms of the Highline acquisition were not disclosed, but Thomson Reuters is feeling friskier these days.  Last week the firm announced a 66 per cent jump in its third quarter profit over 2009 to $277 million, beating analyst expectations as well as the company’s own predictions.  Guidance for this year’s revenues is flat or slightly up, compared with earlier predictions they would be flat or slightly down.

In September, Thomson Reuters launched Eikon, a new desktop platform for financial professionals, which has had more than 1,000 new sales (not upgrades from other Thomson Reuters products), according to the company.

In a research note last week, UBS analyst Phillip Huang called the early-adoption numbers for Eikon “encouraging,” and predicted “the unique platform will generate significant interest in the year ahead.”

The Highline purchase suggests that Thomson Reuters is getting its acquisition mojo back.  Whereas Bloomberg has traditionally built product rather than buy, Thomson’s historical approach has been to buy rather than build.

The full press release follows:

Thomson Reuters Acquires Highline Financial

Meeting the Markets Need for More Robust Financial Institution Analytics

New York – November 1, 2010 – Thomson Reuters today announced it acquired Highline Financial, a financial information and analytics provider focused on the US banking sector. The acquisition supports Thomson Reuters strategy of providing timely, accurate and high quality information by expanding its offering to include differentiated financial content and analytics for the banking and capital markets sector.

Market dynamics are creating a strong need for deep data and analytics as the financial sector experiences a tremendous level of new regulatory oversight, post crisis performance monitoring, bank closures and overall industry consolidation. The combination of Thomson Reuters and Highline Financial will provide Thomson Reuters clients with access to Highline Financial’s comprehensive public company and regulatory database which comprises 20 years of historical data covering 20,000 financial institutions, with over 24,000 filed and calculated financial data points and ratios maintained in the system on a daily basis. Highline Financial clients will benefit from having access to the depth and breadth of Thomson Reuters global content, support and infrastructure. Theinformation will be available on Thomson Reuters Eikon, Thomson Reuters recently launched next-generation desktop, in 2011.

“The recent turmoil in the markets makes access to financial data more important than ever to our clients,” said Neil Masterson, Global Head of Investment Banking, Thomson Reuters. “With the acquisition of Highline Financial, Thomson Reuters can provide the banking and capital markets sector with the financial industry-specific analytics they need to drive deal activity.”

“This acquisition will create a significantly larger financial information and analytics platform for Highline Financial by enabling the company to leverage Thomson Reuters global reach and expertise to better serve its clients,” said Terry Waters, President & CEO, Highline Financial. “Both companies are committed to providing the most timely, accurate and complete financial information available and the combination of the two creates an industry leader in this space.”

Highline Financial is a portfolio company of Spire Capital Partners.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science and media markets, powered by the world’s most trusted news organization. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs 55,000 people and operates in over 100 countries. For more information, go to www.thomsonreuters.com.

Highline Financial

Highline Financial is the preferred source of banking information and analytics with decades of experience serving the financial industry. Our mission is to deliver the highest quality and most relevant banking information and analytics solutions that enable our clients to manage financial risks and make profitable investment decisions every day, at a lower cost of ownership. We do this by combining our focused industry expertise in banking with best of breed industry partnerships to fulfill the real-time strategic needs of executives, business leaders and analysts in financial institutions, corporations and public sector agencies. For more information visit www.highlinefi.com.

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