Breakingviews is a subscription based analysis service, with columns syndicated in The New York Times, Le Monde, El Pais and Handelsblatt. It has around 4.5 million readers. It’s European operations are said to be profitable, but it is losing money elsewhere.
Breakingviews was founded by Hugo Dixon, former author of the FT’s Lex column. Dixon is expected to pocket £2.7 ($4.4 million). Dixon’s co-founder, Jonathan Ford is now running Reuters commentary section.
Obviously this won’t be a cash generator for Thomson Reuters. It’s more content for their subscription data service, which is fighting Bloomberg. A few weeks ago, Ford explained Reuters’ expansion into commentary and blogs saying, “The blog is there to provide an instant reaction, a force multiplier, if you’d like…it gives us the ability to cover more subjects, because it’s a huge world out there.”
We’re curious to see what Felix Salmon thinks of the deal. He’s the face of Reuters’ blogging, and he slammed the idea of a Reuters-Breakingviews deal in July saying:
To Reuters, then, the value of Breakingviews can be broken down into three parts. There’s the value of its contracts; the value of its brand; and the value of its journalists. The contracts are clearly a wasting asset; the brand is associated with an outdated and increasingly quaint business model; and the journalists, insofar as we want them, can be much more easily hired individually and incorporated into the existing commentary group, rather than trying to engineer an awkward merger between two very different teams.
UPDATE: Felix says “Not sure what there is to say, really, beyond the fact that I was clearly completely wrong about Reuters not buying BV.”