Last week's story from AP and other sources on Thomson's acquisition of European equities news agency AFX is downplayed by Thomson in an Information World Review weblog entry this week, which is perhaps appropriate given the scale of the scale of the deal. Rumored to be a USD 20 million takeover, AFX offers a relatively small impact on Thomson Financial's greater bottom line and evolutionary impact on its top line.
But the scope of AFX's position and influence offers Thomson some intriguing opportunities. While AFX content will be used primarily within the Thomson One desktop package to round out European news more to a par with Reuters and Bloomberg in European markets, AFX cuts a very global footprint that covers Asian markets very actively and an online media presence via syndication clients such as Forbes that give AFX a significant amount of Web exposure on international topics of interest to investors. Modest though this may seem it is perhaps the beginning of Thomson having a small toe in the waters of online news distribution that has been sorely lacking.
With CEO Dick Harrington working mightily to keep Thomson a growing company some diversification into strategies with Web components tied to non-enterprise revenue sources is overdue. In the meantime AFX offers Thomson Financial an important step towards a full-replacement product in European markets.