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Reuters: Offer for Bridge Approved

May 4, 2001

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Reuters PLC said a federal bankruptcy court has approved its offer for some of the assets of rival Bridge Information Systems Inc., a struggling financial news and data provider.

London-based Reuters said Thursday it intends to close the deal as soon as possible after making the required regulatory filings and reaching a new network services agreement with Bridge’s network provider, Savvis Communications.

The deal was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis, which is hearing the case after Bridge sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors earlier this year, Reuters said.

The transaction approved by the court includes several financial data business and an electronic trading operation, but excludes key properties including BridgeNews, the bond data business Telerate, and ADP, a retail stock information service.

Bridge spokesman Joel Weiden said earlier this week that bids have been made for Telerate and for the company’s European operations, but not the other assets.

On Monday, Bridge said it had accepted Reuters’ offer of $275 million in cash for assets which include the North American operations of Bridge Information Systems, a Bridge subsidiary that provides a stock pricing and news service.

The assets Reuters is buying also include EJV, a bond pricing and data service; Bridge Trading, an electronic trading business; eBridge, an online information provider for large financial institutions, and CRB Index, a commodity index.

Reuters’s offer topped an earlier bid from SunGard Data Systems Inc., a financial software company, for $165 million for essentially the same group of assets.

Bridge, the largest provider of financial news and data in North America, filed for bankruptcy protection in February after failing to reach an agreement with its creditors on new financing.

Bridge grew rapidly over the past several years through acquisitions, but it has faced difficulty integrating its businesses and dealing with customer complaints about billing glitches.

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