Visa Embedded Lending June 2024 Banner

Thomson Reuters Has $8 Billion in ‘Financial Firepower’ for AI Investment

Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters has reportedly amassed $8 billion to invest in the artificial intelligence (AI) space.

In an interview with the Financial Times Monday (March 11), CEO Steve Hasker said the company has “tremendous financial firepower” to expand in the realm of AI-driven professional services and information as it prepares to sell the remainder of its holding in the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).

“We have dry powder of around $8 billion as a result of the cash-generative ability of our existing business, a very lightly levered balance sheet and the sell down of [our stake in] LSEG,” Hasker told the FT.

In addition, the company also aims to spend upwards of $100 million to develop its own AI tech each year for its customers in the legal and accounting professions.

The FT notes that the company last year finished a two-year effort to change from a content provider into a “content-driven” tech company. However, Hasker said, generative AI (GenAI) came along soon after, presenting another opportunity to transform.

The CEO said the way in which AI would alter its clients spending patterns was still “very unclear,” though it was one of several “tailwinds” driving Thomson Reuters.

Thomson Reuters in November debuted a series of generative AI initiatives aimed at transforming the legal profession, offering lawyers tools to enhance their research and workflow.

Among them was the addition of GenAI to the AI-Assisted Research on Westlaw Precision platform, letting legal professionals quickly find answers to complex research questions.

As PYMNTS wrote last year, the idea that GenAI will lead to an efficiency revolution in the legal world is offset somewhat by the reservations many in the industry feel about its preparedness for an AI-powered future.

“While the evangelists are deeply optimistic that generative AI will positively impact the profession, they represent roughly half of professionals,” that report said.

While more than 6 in 10 law firms and corporate legal departments believe AI can present significant business advantages, 72% of legal professionals doubt the industry is ready for AI.

As for the question of whether AI will replace lawyers, James Clough, chief technology officer and co-founder of Robin AI, told PYMNTS earlier this year he doesn’t see that happening.

“Lawyers who use AI are going to replace lawyers who don’t, rather than AI replacing all lawyers,” he said. “That’s why it’s called a co-pilot, right? Because a co-pilot implies the existence of a pilot, and it’s still the pilot who’s in control. It’s the pilot who’s setting the direction. It’s best thought of as a person and machine partnership rather than a replacement.”