LONDON: Merger talks between the Reuters and Canuck electronic information powerhouse Thomson Corporation are likely headed towards a £8.8 billion ($17.5bn; €12.9bn) conclusion.

Thomson's acquisition of the global news service would expand its products and catapult its share of the financial data market to 34%, from 11% currently, just ahead of rival Bloomberg.

Negotiations are still at the "middle stage", according to insiders, and unlikely to be concluded before next week.

Thomson, once known chiefly for its newspaper interests and as a former owner of The Times, is 70% controlled by the family of the same name. It also once operated travel companies, department stores and oil exploration ventures before its transformation into a data provider.

The late Lord Thomson of Fleet, who died last year, was not in favour of any union with an eager Reuters, but son and heir David, chairman of the group, is more open to the deal.

Reuters was founded in 1851 by Paul Julius Reuter, who used homing pigeons to carry news of the Crimean War. It first sold shares to the public in 1984, and now has around 370,000 users, according to its website.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff