Bloomberg Buys Legal Database Provider BNA For $990 million

Bloomberg is in the process of acquiring legal information services company BNA for $990 million. As competition among the three largest financial news services continues to intensify, the legal services area is something that Bloomberg rivals Reuters (NYSE: TRI) and Dow Jones (NSDQ: NWS) have been looking to reach as they look beyond Wall St. for subscribers to their expensive offerings.

By extending their reach to the legal profession, Bloomberg, Reuters and Dow Jones can compensate for any decrease for their financial services, as layoffs on Wall St. mount. While Bloomberg has continued to see an uptick in its terminal customers, fewer clients and cutbacks have hurt Reuters’ Market Division, which has recently undergone a major restructuring and the layoffs of several top execs.

Reuters has been expanding its legal professionals services for some time. Two years ago, it bought, a legal, tax and regulatory information database website, and then last year, it purchased one of Brazil’s major legal publishing houses, Revista dos Tribunais.

In Bloomberg’s acquisition of Arlington, Va.-based BNA, that company has over 300 news and information services, including the Daily Labor Report, U.S. Law Week, and Daily Report for Executives. BNA’s publications and database is focused primarily around regulatory activity and government policy, especially in the area of taxes. It’s all intended to serve as a complement to the existing Bloomberg Law, the company’s legal research system that contains dockets, company information and “proprietary news.”

For the most part, Bloomberg sees the combination as a way to build up its analysis of tax and accounting, labor and employment, healthcare, intellectual property, and telecommunications issues.

On a more minor note, the deal, which is still pending regulatory approval, would expand Bloomberg’s presence in the Washington, DC area as well.