Thomson Reuters Offers Settlement In RIC Investigation
Thomson Reuters, the worldwide provider of business and financial information, has offered to settle an EU antitrust probe. The two-year old investigation is focused on the company’s system of requiring customers to use Reuters Instrument Codes (RICs) to access financial data. The codes are used to identify financial instruments and indices for which a consumer wants to retrieve data.
The European Commission began the investigation in November 2009. The ongoing proceedings are aimed at examining a possible abuse of Thomson Reuters’ dominant position. The Commission noted that the use of RICs makes it difficult for consumers to cross-reference data with other providers. Further, RICs could lock in customers due to the length of time and high costs involved with reconfiguring software applications to replace RICs with a competitor’s product. If a violation is found, the Commission is able to fine Thomson Reuters up to 10% of the company’s annual turnover.
The settlement offered by Thomson Reuters would allow customers to license additional user rights for a monthly fee. These licenses would permit customers to use RICs with the codes used by other data suppliers, increasing the number of providers a customer could access. Thomson Reuters stated it would supply all the information needed for customers to link RICs with those used by rival data suppliers.
The proposed settlement has not yet been accepted. Competitors, customers, and other third parties will have until January 25, 2012 to comment on the proposal. The Commission will then determine if it will make the offer binding and terminate the investigation.
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