European Commission accepts commitments from Thomson Reuters

On 20 December 2012, the Commission issued a press release stating that it has made legally binding the commitments offered by Thomson Reuters to address the Commission’s concerns that Thomson Reuters might have abused its dominant position in the market for consolidated real-time datafeeds through its licensing practices (see Newsletter 6/2009 p. 11, Newsletter 1/2012 p. 7 and Newsletter 4-5/2012 p. 11 for more background) in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia commented that information plays a key role in ensuring that financial markets operate in a healthy and efficient way.

In particular, under the commitments, Thomson Reuters will create a new licence (“ERL”) allowing customers, for a monthly fee, to use Reuters Instrument Codes (“RICs”) for data sourced from Thomson Reuters’ competitors. The ERL could be used worldwide by customers with genuine business operations in the European Economic Area (EEA). In addition, Thomson Reuters would provide customers with the necessary information to map RICs to alternative symbology (i.e. codes by other suppliers). Furthermore, a separate license would be available for third party developers to enable them to facilitate customer switching, in particular allowing RICs and rival services to interoperate. Third-party developers and competing datafeed vendors can share information (with the exclusion of RICs themselves) and cooperate closely in the building, maintenance, sale and advertising of such switching tools. [Gabriele Accardo]