The International Herald Tribune is announcing plans today to form a new business alliance with Reuters.
'With the new agreement, Reuters replaces its fierce rival Bloomberg, which since 2002 maintained a business partnership with the IHT. Bloomberg and the IHT first collaborated in a section called Business Asia by Bloomberg in the newspaper's Asian editions and later in Marketplace by Bloomberg in Europe.'
At the time of the Bloomberg deal, it was rumoured that Bloomberg were so keen to raise their profile, essentially to compete with Reuters for the lucrative terminals business, that not only did they not demand money for their copy, but that they even paid for, or at least a part of, the editorial and paper and print costs of the Bloomberg pages.
Clearly something has come unstuck, because their has been little suggestion that the Bloomberg pages were not up to scratch editorially.
Did Bloomberg ask for revenue sharing and the IHT - always looking to save a dollar - went to Reuters? Or is there a bigger picture behind this deal, and if so, what is it?
It's interesting that Reuters themselves has agreed to a takeover bid by publisher Thomson Corp - a deal that is being looked into by US and EU competition authorities but which is expected to be completed in Q1 2008. Could Thomson Corp be on the radar screen of The New York Times company as a potential acquisition target?
It will be interesting to see how the Reuters pages measure up to the Bloomberg pages. And I might be off to buy some Thomson Corp shares, because their is no doubt that financial information is the weak link in the NYT offering, and in competition with Dow Jones, recently acquired by Murdoch's News International, things could be hotting up.
I noted this in particular: Monique Villa, a managing director of Reuters Media, said that Reuters would eventually like to extend its alliance beyond the IHT to NYT newspaper and its website.
Where Pearson's FT fits into all this is yet to be seen, but the FT, although a flagship Pearson property, accounts for very little of their overall turnover. With the Wall Street Journal now owned by the deep-pocket, ambitious News Int., and the IHT, and by extension the NYT, making a play with Reuters, the FT is beginning to look increasingly isolated in the world of business publishing.
To see Reuter's announcement on the FT deal, have a look at http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/kunc/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1195550§ionID=5