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May 20, 2021, 12:25 p.m.
LINK: www.marketwatch.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   May 20, 2021

Reuters announced last month that it’s launching a paywall — and an expensive one too, at $34.99 a month. We wondered who’d pay that, but now the company’s largest client, data provider Refinitiv, says the planned paywall violates its contract with Reuters, which “prohibits Reuters from directly soliciting, treasury, investing or hedging departments of any company to purchase General News Content.” MarketWatch reported Friday (warning: this is boring, but also interesting):

David Craig, chief executive of Refinitiv, and Andrea Stone, [London Stock Exchange Group’s] chief customer proposition officer, said in the letter to Michael Friedenberg, chief executive of Reuters, that requiring Reuters’ readers to pay for content “would cause Refinitiv significant loss and material and irreparable harm.”

Reuters TRI, 1.51% derives around half of its revenue from Refinitiv, making the financial data company its biggest client. Thomson Reuters, the parent company of Reuters News, holds a 15% stake in LSEG following its $27 billion all-stock deal in 2019 for Refinitiv. The LSE’s purchase of Refinitiv took two years to complete — amid regulatory requirements and COVID-19 pandemic-driven snags.

Refinitiv pays Reuters $325 million a year (until 2048!) to provide news to its “largest financial services customers, including JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.” There’s presumably a lot of overlap between that group of bankers and the “business professionals” that Reuters is hoping will pay for its product.

In statements to MarketWatch, Thomson Reuters and LSEG said they valued their partnership. The contract allows LSEG to take Thomson Reuters to court if they can’t resolve a dispute amicably.

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