Canada’s Thomson Ponders $1bn New York Share Issue

25 February 2002

Toronto-headquartered media group Thomson is mulling a share issue in New York worth over $1 billion to aid its transformation from newspaper giant into a specialist in electronic publishing, business, law, education and medicine.

With a market valuation of around C$29.5 billion ($18.5bn), Thomson has disposed of most of its newspaper empire – previously the largest in Canada – to fund acquisitions such as publisher Harcourt General, US business information group Primark and British medical education specialist Gardiner-Caldwell Communications.

A share issue would probably come from a slight dilution of the 73% controlling stake held by the Thomson family. Resulting funds, suggest sources, could be combined with current cash reserves to finance a major new acquisition.

Thomson is unusual among top Canadian companies in that it does not have a listing in New York. The share issue would see most transactions of the company’s stock move to the Big Apple.

It would also be seen as recognition that the group is to all intents and purposes now a US company – many senior staff, including chief executive Richard Harrington, work from Stamford, Connecticut.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff