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Thomson Reuters OKs $500M buyback program, discloses FY'18 outlook

Thomson Reuters Corp. has announced a new $500 million share repurchase program.

The company said it may buy back the shares prior to the closing of the planned financial and risk transaction with Blackstone Group LP under its normal course issuer bid, which is scheduled to expire later in May. Thomson Reuters plans to renew its normal course issuer bid for a new 12-month period.

The number of shares that Thomson Reuters buys back under the repurchase program will be subject to the timing of the closing of the transaction and other factors, such as market conditions, share price and other opportunities to invest capital for growth.

Thomson Reuters expects to use between $9 billion and $10 billion of the estimated $17 billion of gross proceeds of the deal to return capital to its shareholders. About $3.0 billion to $4.0 billion of the proceeds may be used to repay debt, and the remaining $1.0 billion to $3.0 billion of proceeds may be used to fund strategic, targeted acquisitions to strengthen its legal and tax businesses. The company also expects to use between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion for cash taxes, pension contributions, bond redemption costs, and other fees and outflows related to the transaction.

Thomson Reuters also issued its financial outlook for 2018. The company expects low single-digit revenue growth and adjusted EBITDA of $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion for the full year. The outlook assumes constant currency rates compared to 2017 and does not factor in the impact of potential acquisitions or divestitures, except for the company's planned sale of interest in the financial and risk business.

For the first quarter, Thomson Reuters reported a net loss attributable to common shareholders of $339 million, or 48 cents per share, compared to net earnings of $297 million, or 41 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted EPS for the first quarter was 28 cents, compared to 25 cents in the year-ago quarter.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for the quarter was 34 cents, with five analysts reporting.