Blackstone, Thomson Reuters Are Said to Weigh Tradeweb IPO, Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group LP and Thomson Reuters Corp. are considering an initial public offering or a sale of their stake in the bond-trading platform Tradeweb Markets LLC, whose users and co-investors include the world’s biggest banks, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The two firms have held talks with the bank shareholders, which include Deutsche Bank AG, UBS Group AG and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, about selling the company or taking it public this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Tradeweb, now majority owned by Thomson Reuters, is likely to be valued at more than $4 billion in an IPO or sale, the people said.

A sale or IPO wouldn’t happen until after Blackstone completes its purchase of Thomson Reuters’ financial and risk unit, the people said. Blackstone and Thomson Reuters consider an IPO to be the most likely option and seek a sale or listing that would include the banks’ shares as well as their own stake, one of the people said.

No final decision has been made and the owners could elect to keep the business, the people said.

Representatives for Blackstone, Reuters and Tradeweb, along with investors Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS, declined to comment. Representatives for Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

Blackstone’s Deal

The plan to explore an IPO or sale comes as Blackstone is leading a group of investors in buying a 55 percent stake in the Thomson Reuters financial and risk unit. That transaction, which values the Thomson Reuters data and information business at about $20 billion, is scheduled to close in the second half of this year.

The new standalone company won’t include the news division, which will get at least $325 million a year from Thomson Reuters for 30 years for its news and editorial comment.

New York-based Tradeweb, which was formed in 1998, builds and operates electronic over-the-counter marketplaces, with a focus on the fixed income and derivatives markets, according to its website.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, competes with Thomson Reuters in providing news, data and information to the financial industry. It also competes with Tradeweb in offering trading in bonds and derivatives to its subscribers.

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