Well the 800 lb Gorilla may have walked into the room of new media in the legal industry.

Tim Stanley has connected a few dots in a Thomson acquires Reuters and then acquires American Lawyer Media (ALM) scenario. Tim cites today’s New york Times piece on Thomson Corporation’s acquisition of the Reuters Group:

While no decisions have yet been made, he [Tom Glocer] said Reuters might hire about 50 additional journalists to create a legal news wire, integrating it with Thomson’s current offerings to lawyers.

“Interesting, Tim says and adds “I believe that Thomson will use some of their education division sale money to purchase American Lawyer Media. We will see… in the mean time, I am taking bets.”

Makes sense. Thomson is buying Reuters for more $17.2 billion. Thomson announced last Friday they were selling non-core assets with the $7.75B sale of educational and publishing assets. ALM is for sale and had been floating a price of $1 Billion. Such a price was not going to be attainable before something like this. Wasserstein & Co, the owner of ALM, has to be pitching the sale, if not already in negotiations.

Thomson-Reuters would be uniquely qualified to reinvent ALM into an online media company in a way that ALM could not do it. The evolution (or revolution) will mean the end of the reporter/editor/news bureau/seperate publication system. In it’s place will be ‘information centers’ ala Gannet Newspapers change to websites and online media.

Like at Gannett, it would involve some bloodletting with experienced ALM editors and reporters not ‘buying’ the new way being let go. Much easier for Thomson-Reuters to get that done than ALM doing it among friends and long lasting relationships.

I’m betting with Tim.

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