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Thomson Reuters to cut workforce by 12 percent, but cuts in Eagan already finished

December 4, 2018

Thomson Reuters Corp. told investors Tuesday that it will cut its workforce 12 percent, or 3,200 people, by 2020, but the reduction at its sizable Eagan office has already happened.

Word has been emerging for weeks that the Toronto-based company, a provider of financial, corporate and legal information services and owner of the Reuters news agency, was undergoing another one of its periodic downsizings. At the office in Eagan, workers and former workers have told friends and colleagues that job cuts were ongoing.

The Eagan office, a main base for the companys legal publishing operations with roots in the former West Publishing Co. of St. Paul, now employs about 6,000 people, a spokesman said Tuesday. All the people in Eagan who are affected by the new round of layoffs have been told, two representatives of the company said.

The company declined to disclose the precise number of people who were being cut in Eagan, but some former workers who have contacted the Star Tribune said it could be a few hundred.

As part of the latest streamlining, Thomson Reuters said it planned to reduce the number of offices around the world by 30 percent to 133 locations by 2020. In one example, it said it would close an office in Rochester, N.Y., where it employed 350 people.

Thomson Reuters executives announced the cuts during an investor day in Toronto, in which they outlined future plans. Shares in Thomson Reuters were up 3.7 percent to an all-time high in morning trading in both Toronto and New York.

Chief executive Jim Smith said it plans to cross-sell more products to existing customers and to attract new customers. The company will also cut the number of products it sells, he said.

Were going to simplify the company in every way that we can, working on sales effectiveness and on ways to make it easier both for our customers to do business with us and for our front-line troops to navigate inside the organization, Smith said.

The company in early October completed the sale of a 55-percent stake in its Financial Risk unit to private equity firm Blackstone Group LP. About 400 workers in Eagan moved to the new company, called Refinativ, and a few dozen of them were let go, according to a former employee who contacted the Star Tribune.

Thomson Reuters has set aside $2 billion of the $17 billion proceeds from the Blackstone deal to make purchases to help grow its legal and tax businesses.

Following the Blackstone deal, about 43 percent of Thomson Reuters revenue come from its legal business, with 23 percent of sales coming from corporate clients and 15 percent of sales coming from its tax business.

Reuters News accounts for only 6 percent of revenue and has a new leader in Michael Friedenberg, who joined the company on Monday as president of its news and media operations.

The company said it aims to grow annual sales by 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent by 2020, excluding the impact of any acquisitions. Shares in Thomson Reuters have risen by nearly 40 percent since May, benefiting from the company buying back $10 billion worth of shares.

Reuters and staff writer Mike Hughlett contributed to this report. Evan Ramstad 612-673-4241

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