On the heels of News Corp.’s bid for The Wall Street Journal, electronic publisher Thomson Corp. confirmed that it will offer $17.5 billion for the Reuters Group news service.

In a statement, Thomson said that the deal, which would create a significant rival to Bloomberg, would be paid in cash and stock. According to Inside Market Data, Thomson-Reuters would have about a 34 percent share of the market, compared to Bloomberg’s current 33 percent.

The Toronto-based Thomson family, along with other Thomson shareholders, would remain in control of the new company, which would be headed up by current Reuters chief executive Tom Glocer. If the deal is completed, Thomson chief executive Richard J. Harrington would likely retire.

“Both boards believe there is a powerful and compelling logic for the combination which would create a global leader in the business-to-business information markets,” the companies said in a statement. “[This] is a large and complex transaction, much has still to be resolved and there can be no assurance that agreement will be reached.”

The same announcement said that shareholders could expect to see enhanced value within the next three years, created by plans to achieve more than $500 million of annual synergies.

Both companies would maintain their stock listings, but have identical boards and adopt a share structure that allows trustees to block takeovers. The Thomson family would appoint the new company’s chairman.

Thomson Financial would be combined with Reuters’ financial and general news business and continue to operate under the Reuters name.

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