EU Seeks Views on Thomson Reuters Bid to End Antitrust Probe

Thomson Reuters Corp.’s revised offer to settle a European Union antitrust probe will be tested by users of securities identification codes.

The European Commission said the company’s proposal to reduce license fees and simplify the fee structure of the codes improved on earlier concessions “in several regards.”

The Brussels-based commission “has concerns that Thomson Reuters may be abusing its dominant market position in the market for consolidated real-time datafeeds,” the Brussels-based regulator said in an e-mailed statement. Curbs on how the company’s clients can use the identification codes create “substantial barriers” to alternative providers.

The commission opened an investigation into the Thomson Reuters codes in 2009, saying customers may potentially be locked in to working with the company because replacing the codes required a long and costly procedure to rewrite or reconfigure software applications.

“Thomson Reuters does not believe it has violated EU competition law, nor has the European Commission made any finding of infringement against the firm,” the New York-based company said in an e-mailed statement.

The commission will seek views on the offer for four weeks. The EU can end the investigation if the offer addresses the competition concerns. Thomson Reuters can be fined up to 10 percent of its yearly revenue if it breaks the terms of the legally binding settlement.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with Thomson Reuters in selling financial and legal information and trading systems.

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