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More Warnings

By Reuters  |  Posted 09-17-2008 Print

More Warnings

PC maker Dell and computer products maker Ingram Micro have warned about softening demand, and analysts expect more bleak outlooks from other tech companies.

Cisco and IBM had warned last year about a slowdown in spending from the U.S. financial sector, before the June rescue of Bear Stearns by JPMorgan Chase.

Including Bear Stearns, the selling opportunity to the top 10 firms in the U.S. security industry has shrunk by a third, according to Financial Sights, based on estimates that Bank of America will reduce spending on technology due to overlap.

News and financial data providers Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg LP also could be hurt, analysts said.

Merrill and Lehman are among Thomson Reuters Markets division's top 25 clients, which collectively account for about 13 percent of overall Thomson Reuters' revenue, a company spokeswoman said.

"Investors should not assume that revenue streams will disappear. For example, Bank of America clearly wants Merrill's strong franchises going forward," she said. "Lehman's assets will be sold off and some of that business will remain."

UBS analyst Jeffrey Fan said Lehman accounted for about 1 percent of Thomson Reuters Markets' revenue, as did Merrill. Losing Lehman could lead to a 3 percent reduction in Thomson Reuters's 2009 earnings per share, he said.

"We have expected industry reshaping for some time; however the pace and intensity of the current restructuring is exceptional," Devin Wenig, chief executive of Thomson Reuters Markets division, wrote in a memo to employees. "I recognize that industry turmoil can be unsettling, but we are well equipped and ready to weather this storm."

In response, the company is freezing some external job hiring and reducing travel and entertainment expenditures.

Bloomberg LP is also likely to be counting the cost of the dramatic events of recent days, industry experts said.

"The fact is that Bloomberg over the last seven or eight years have been growing and installing their positions at a much faster rate than Reuters has," said Atradia Consulting Director David Anderson, who tracks worldwide market share for financial data providers. "Logic and math suggest that Bloomberg is going to take a bigger hit."

The privately held company declined comment.

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