Thomson Reuters apologizes for early deal announcement

NEW YORK: Thomson Reuters has apologized for mistakenly publishing an earnings release from Office Depot that prematurely announced the office supplier's acquisition of OfficeMax.

NEW YORK: Thomson Reuters has apologized for mistakenly publishing an earnings release from Office Depot that prematurely announced the office supplier's acquisition of OfficeMax.

Office Depot said Wednesday that it plans to buy OfficeMax for $1.19 billion. But hours before the official deal announcement, Office Depot accidentally released its fourth-quarter earnings on its website, which included details of the company's transaction with OfficeMax. The earnings release disappeared from Office Depot's website about an hour later, and an official news release about the transaction followed shortly afterwards.

During a conference call on Wednesday, Office Depot chairman and CEO Neil Austrian blamed the premature release on an unnamed webcast operator. Thomson Reuters later issued a statement apologizing for the error.

“Thomson Reuters Corporate Services business handles thousands of requests each year for updates and postings of new materials to clients' IR websites, including Office Depot. Unfortunately, Thomson Reuters incorrectly posted this morning's announcement of Office Depot's intention to merge with Office Max prior to its intended release,” the statement read. “We regret this error and are taking all steps necessary to enhance our processes and controls to ensure this does not happen again, as serving our valued customers remains our highest priority.”

A Thomson Reuters spokesperson declined to provide further comment.

In December, NASDAQ OMX agreed to acquire Thomson Reuters' PR, investor relations, and multimedia services businesses, which serve more than 7,000 clients globally, as the exchange operator expands its Corporate Solutions group. The $390 million transaction is expected to close in the first half of this year.

NASDAQ declined to comment on the situation.

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