The Blackstone Group has agreed to acquire a 55% stake in Thomson Reuters' Financial and Risk business, which provides data, analytics and trading solutions to financial professionals. The deal values F&R at $20 billion, with Thomson Reuters to receive around $17 billion in gross proceeds (including $3 billion in cash from Blackstone and the rest funded by debt).
Why it's a big deal: This is Blackstone's largest buyout since the financial crisis, and already has some private equity tongues wagging about a new spate of mega-deals (albeit with more modern twists like LP co-investments and sell-side equity retention).
Plus, there is the tabloid deliciousness of a New York billionaire battle between Steve Schwarzman and Michael Bloomberg.
Bottom line from Lex in The Financial Times:
"A total valuation of $20bn, including an equity contribution from Thomson Reuters, looks about what the market already ascribes to the F&R in enterprise value. This is a small premium to the $17 billion Thomson paid for Reuters more than a decade ago. Even then, the investment may be no bargain. It could start to look costly if persistent rumors that Bloomberg has been cutting prices for its own terminals turn out to be true."