Thomson Reuters to open data door to rivals in EU antitrust case

Thomson Reuters, still at loggerheads with the European Commission in an ongoing antitrust case, said it will let customers use its codes to access rivals' data --- but it will offer the privilege at an additional cost.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Thomson Reuters is attempting to duck away from European antitrust regulators following months of to-ing and fro-ing.

The firm, which provides real-time market and business data for financial institutions, and newswires for the media industry, offered a solution that may appease European regulators to a degree --- but customers will still end up paying through the nose for it.

In dispute are Reuters' Instrument Codes (RICs), which are used to identify stock tickers across an array of global market to other ticker services. Customers are given to access up-to-the-minute financial data from other companies --- including rivals --- through these codes.

But the firm was accused of 'locking-in' customers to its system because replacing the codes that allows data to keep flowing from rival firms would have taken too long and would require software reconfiguration, the company said previously. 

The European Commission said such restrictions "appear to create substantial barriers to switching" to other services. 

Today, Thomson Reuters offered a solution. It said customers will be allowed to use its codes to retrieve data from rival firms --- but will charge end-user customers for the privilege --- at least $750 a month, said PaidContent.

The document, uploaded to the Commission's pages [PDF], adds:

For example, for a fee of $1,250 per month, a customer will be able to subscribe for 200,000 RICs under the Extended RIC Licence. The Third Party Developer RIC Licence fee is similar to the above, except that fees are capped at 1,000,000 RICs, and the minimum monthly fee is $250 per month.

In May, Thomson Reuters offered "additional commitments" to European regulators as it sought to end the ongoing antitrust probe. The company was found to have abused its dominant market position and blocked competition with its RIC system.

Thomson Reuters said it "strongly disagrees" with the Commission's assertions regarding both their factual and legal elements, and continues to deny the allegations against it.

Should the company be found to have flouted European law, it could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its global annual revenue --- or $1.4 billion. 

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