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Thomson Reuters to buy UK-based legal firm

Thomson Reuters on Thursday said it would acquire a London-based legal firm in "a highly strategic addition" that represents a milestone in the group's evolution into a true solutions business.

“I can’t imagine a better way to start the New Year,” chief executive James Smith told staff.

The company did not say how much it would pay for Practical Law Company, which was founded by two British corporate lawyers in 1990. It provides practical guidance to law firms and corporate legal departments in Britain and the United States. It employs more than 750 people, principally in London and New York, and generated pre-tax profits of £18.1 million on revenues of £48.2 million in the year ending April 2011. Senior industry sources told The Daily Telegraph the price was likely to be between £200 million and £300 million.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory review which Thomson Reuters expects to be complete in the first quarter of this year.

Smith said Susan Taylor Martin, whose job as president of the group’s global media business – news-related sales and marketing – was taken over by editor-in-chief Stephen Adler on Tuesday, would lead the combined legal businesses in the United Kingdom and Ireland. ■

Thomson Reuters