February 2, 2018 / 3:01 AM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-Blackstone sees data, not desktop products, as future of Thomson Reuters F&R unit

(Adds comments from senior Blackstone executive)

By Joshua Franklin

NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP President Tony James said on Thursday the future of the Thomson Reuters Financial and Risk business is in selling data, not in selling terminal desktop products to traders, bankers and investors.

“We’re big believers in data and that’s certainly a driver behind the Thomson Reuters business,” James said in a call with analysts after Blackstone’s fourth-quarter earnings, when asked how the firm was looking at opportunities in data technology and how it might expand its expertise in that area.

“The most valuable part of that business by far is the data part. The terminals are the legacy business for which people think of them but that’s not where the future of that company is,” said James, without giving any further details.

Blackstone this week agreed to buy a majority stake in Thomson Reuters Corp’s F&R division, putting the U.S. private equity firm at the heart of Wall Street’s financial information industry, where Thomson Reuters competes against privately-held Bloomberg in providing bankers and investors with news, data and analytics.

In an interview after Reuters published James’ comments, Martin Brand, the Blackstone executive who led the acquisition of the Thomson Reuters F&R unit, said that Blackstone wanted to improve all parts of that business, including the Eikon platform, F&R’s flagship desktop product.

“The data feeds are faster growing. At the same time, we’re fully committed to investing significantly behind Eikon and view it as a business we’re excited about,” he said.

Reuters News will remain a unit of Thomson Reuters Corp. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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