Friday, July 22, 2005

Thomson Acquires GSI for LiveEDGAR Integration into West:Law Unit

The announced acquisition of Global Securities Information, Inc. by Thomson is yet another strong acquisition by Thomson of a solid content company that will fit well into its legal portfolio. GSI's core product is LiveEDGAR, a powerful interface into filings data from the Securities Exchange Commission and additional information on legal firms involved in mergers and acquisitions. LiveEDGAR allows M&A specialists to understand both companies and the deals and dollars floating around those deals - a great financial analysis tool, yes, but also a great marketing tool and performance measurement tool. GSI had been trying to broaden its appeal via promotion of its XML interfaces into its data, but at the end of the day its value was in specialization for the legal market, not generalization. At the same time, though, Thomson still maintains SEC filing data through its Thomson Research subsidiary. One can assume that some basic SEC feed interface and QA functions will be consolidated fairly quickly, but the LiveEDGAR data structures are fairly specialized and are likely to remain intact for some time. Traditional aggregation tends to do well when it keeps a tight focus on a vertical with highly specialized functionality and data integration - a lesson that Thomson has learned quite well in many different market sectors.
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