News and information provider Thomson Reuters Corp. has offered concessions to settle a two-year EU antitrust investigation into the use of proprietary codes to access financial data, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
Thomson Reuters has offered to allow customers to use instrument codes that identify securities such as company stocks for cross referencing and for retrieving data from other data providers, the Commission said in a statement.
The licences would be made available over the next five years and be valid for as long as the customers pay, the EU executive said.
The codes refer to securities traded on exchanges and other trading facilities as well as in over-the-counter (OTC) transactions.
“The commitments proposed by Thomson Reuters should allow financial institutions to switch more easily between different providers of financial data and stimulate competition between data vendors,” Said EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia.
Thomson Reuters said it was cooperating with the Commission.
“Thomson Reuters is committed to continuing to work with the European Commission to resolve the antitrust investigation into the use of our Reuters Instrument Codes. We expect to have more to say on this matter in due course,” the company said in a statement.
The Commission opened an investigation in November 2009, saying the company might have breached EU rules on abuse of a dominant market position.
Third parties have until Jan. 25 to comment on the proposals before the Commission decides whether to accept them and drop the investigation.
The Commission can fine companies up to 10 per cent of their annual turnover for breaching EU rules.
Thomson Reuters’ financial markets business competes with Bloomberg LP and News Corp’s Dow Jones Newswires.