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Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Reuters eyes up rival
bridge website
Bridge: up for sale and the predators are circling
The global news and information provider Reuters has bid for the US assets of its troubled rival Bridge Information Systems.

London-based Reuters said that it was interested in buying a package of businesses from the financial news giant, which has filed for bankruptcy.

They include a business information system in the US, the company's brokerage, Bridge Trading, a bond data system, and the eBridge internet operation, but are so far, thought to exclude the rival news service.

The acquisitions would boost Reuters' US profile in its core financial services market.

The Bridge group of companies includes the former Knight Ridder Financial News, originally part of the Knight Ridder newspaper group and a well-recognised news brand in the US.

The business for financial news, as provided to traders and analysts, is dominated by a handful of companies. These are Reuters, Bloomberg, Bridge and Dow Jones, which is part of the Wall Street Journal group. They provide trading desks with news, price information and analysis.

Reuters did not disclose its bid price, saying its hands were tied by confidentiality restrictions set out by the US bankruptcy court.

Earlier offer

Reuters' bid overlaps with an earlier $165m offer for Bridge from IT firm SunGard Data Systems.

SunGard was bidding for "essentially the same assets" as Reuters is bidding for, said Joel Weiden, a spokesman for Bridge.

Its bid also included the BridgeNews LiveWire service, which reports on US corporate news.

Mr Weiden said the company would now be evaluating both bids.

"We would expect to make an announcement some time next week," he said.

He also confirmed that MoneyLine Networks is in talks to buy the Telerate news and data service, which Bridge acquired from Dow Jones in 1998.

MoneyLine provides technology to allow electronic trading and the transfer of financial news and data over the internet.

Debt burden

Bridge was forced to file for bankruptcy after it struggled to service its bank loans.

Late last year the company owed between $700m and $750m to banks.

The company built up a pile of debt after an aggressive acquisition spree, as it tried to compete with financial data providers such as Reuters and Bloomberg.

Reuters shares were up 2p at 926p in late morning trade on Thursday.

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See also:

30 Mar 01 | Business
News giant seeks buyers
02 Feb 01 | Business
News giant faces bankruptcy
16 Nov 00 | Business
TheStreet calls time on UK operation
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