ProQuest to Acquire Dialog from Thomson Reuters

ProQuest to Acquire Dialog from Thomson Reuters

Ann Arbor, Michigan–based electronic publishing company ProQuest signed an agreement June 12 to purchase the Dialog database service from media company Thomson Reuters. The transaction is expected to close by mid-July, pending completion of a formal consultation period and other customary closing conditions, ProQuest CEO Marty Kahn told American Libraries. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Dialog will continue to be an important distribution channel for Thomson Reuters content after the transaction, Kahn said. Derwent World Patents Index, Investext, TrademarkScan, SciSearc, and BIOSIS are among the firm’s many business databases that will remain available through Dialog. “Adding content and search functionality is part of our plan for the company,” he said. “If we didn’t think we could do that we would not have bought it!”

Kahn said that since ProQuest is a private firm it was under no legal obligation to make the purchase price public, adding that it was “a straight-up cash transaction” and “both sides felt good about the valuation.” He also noted that although Thomson Reuters is a publicly held company, the sale is by law “considered an immaterial transaction too small to require disclosure because of Thomson Reuters’ large overall size.”

Through the acquisition of Dialog, ProQuest expects to deepen its penetration in the corporate-library and professional-research markets. According to Kahn, “In the short term we are going to maintain everything as it was. We will make sure some ProQuest products are included that now are not. In time we will look to add other data sets and expand the content offerings in Dialog and DataStar.”

Kahn noted that ProQuest plans to expand licensing from third parties and look at the creation of new products. “We also hope that we will be able to add some additional search and analytic capability.”

“We are not cutting back on anything,” Kahn told AL. “All of the existing employees are being offered positions at ProQuest offices.” He added that “presences will be maintained” in all three current Dialog locations: Cary, North Carolina; Sunnyvale, California; and London, England. “We will operate Dialog as a separate unit within ProQuest. Some employees have been at Dialog for many years and that’s part of the value. We are very excited to have them coming to ProQuest. And Dialog customers are some of the most sophisticated librarians and corporate people in the world.”

Founded 40 years ago by Roger Summit, Dialog was the world’s first online information retrieval system to be used globally. Part of the Cambridge Information Group, ProQuest provides access to and navigation of more than 125-billion digital pages of the world’s scholarship, delivering it to the desktops of researchers in multiple fields, from the arts to medicine.

Posted on June 13, 2008. Discuss.