Blogs & Comment

The big question

Thomson Reuters shares started trading today in Toronto, New York and London. The new company has a dual-listed structure, which means Thomson Reuters will have two parent companies: Thomson Reuters PLC, which trades on the London Stock Exchange (though its ADS is listed on the Nasdaq), and Thomson Reuters Corp., which trades on the TSX and the NYSE. In the deal Reuters shareholders received Thomson Reuters PLC shares, while Thomson Corp. shareholders received Thomson Reuters Corp. stock.
Now, lets get down to the nitty gritty. The value of its Thomson Corp. shares is a major component of the Thomson familys net worth. According to the most recent Thomson management information circular, issued on April 4, as of March 20 the Thomson family, through its investment vehicle Woodbridge, owned 450, 611, 770 common Thomson shares. We know from a management information circular issued in late February that Thomson Corp. shareholders would continue to own their existing common shares, when the acquisition was completed. As I post this Thomson Reuters Corp. shares are currently trading at just more than $36 on the TSX. That means the value of the Thomson familys shares is around $16.3 billion, which is down some $3.6 billion from when we calculated the familly’s net worth for the 2007 Rich 100. Back then (Oct. 12, 2007), the stock closed at $44.39, and the shares were worth $19.9 billion. It should also be noted they owned some 2.6 million fewer shares when we made our 2007 calculation.
While the Thomson family is hardly in the poor house, $3.6 billion, even if its just a paper loss, is nothing to sneeze at. In light of the current U.S. economic environment Thomson Reuters does face uncertain times, but the company seems confident in its future: it also announced it may repurchase as much as US$500 million of its shares by the end the year. Looking out a bit, May 1 is the date Thomson Reuters will release first quarter results, as well as a 2008 financial outlook. As for the Thomsons, well just have to wait until the 2008 Rich 100 to see how Thomson Reuters performance affects their place in the overall ranking. Truth be told, my bets on them to hold on to the number one spot, but you never know.