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November 11, 2009

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Thomson Reuters faces EC questions

EUROPEAN Union anti-trust regulators launched an investigation yesterday into news and financial data publisher Thomson Reuters' use of its real-time market data feed, saying it might block users moving to rival firms.

The European Commission, which polices competition in the 27-country EU, said the investigation was launched on its own initiative and that it did not imply it had proof of an infringement.

The EC said it would examine whether Thomson Reuters could prevent clients from mapping Reuters Instrument Codes to alternative identification codes of other data feed suppliers.

"Without the possibility of such mapping, customers may potentially be 'locked' in to working with Thomson Reuters because replacing RICs by reconfiguring or by rewriting their software applications can be a long and costly procedure," it said in a statement.

RICs - short, numerical codes that identify securities and their trading locations - are used to retrieve information from Thomson Reuters' real-time data feeds which are virtual pipelines of electronically distributed real-time market data that feed software applications developed by banks and financial institutions.

Thomson Reuters confirmed it had received a questionnaire from the EC over the use of RICs and that it was cooperating.

"Thomson Reuters provides its customers with consistent, dependable and convenient access to several million financial instruments from almost every electronic trading venue around the world and a vast number of other sources of valuable, high-quality content," the firm said in a statement.

Thomson Reuters was formed last year by the merger of Thomson Corp and Reuters Group Plc.

There is no strict deadline for the EC investigation.


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