Canadian electronic publisher Thomson Corp won conditional permission from the European Commission on Tuesday to buy Reuters, a deal that will create the world's leading provider of news and data for professional markets.
The EU executive said in a statement that the deal as proposed had raised concerns about so-called "aftermarket broker research reports", which provide data such as financial statements, financial ratios and earnings per share.
It said the deal "would have eliminated rivalry between the two main suppliers of such databases in the marketplace, both at the worldwide and EEA (European Economic Area) level, leaving financial institutions and customers of such products with a reduced choice".
The Commission said Thomson and Reuters had agreed to divest databases with financial information products, and the associated assets, employees and customer base in order to promote competition.
It said that sell-off would allow purchasers to "quickly establish themselves as a credible competitive force in the marketplace in competition with the merged entity".
Under the deal, Reuters shareholders will receive 352.5 pence in cash and 0.16 Thomson share per Reuters share. The merged group will span financial, legal, healthcare and science markets.