MF Global collapse hurts Bloomberg

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Azam Ahmed and Ben Protess of the New York Times writes about how the failure of MF Global affected Bloomberg L.P.

Ahmed and Protess write, “The financial information giant Bloomberg L.P.lost about 600 subscriptions to its computer terminals — which translates to nearly $1 million in monthly revenue — after MF Global filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 31. The sudden loss of business caused Bloomberg employees to miss their target sales by 12 percent in 2011, people briefed on the matter said, a shortfall that could take a toll on the firm’s bonuses.

“While $1 million sounds like a rounding error for Bloomberg, which generates nearly $7 billion in revenue a year, the hit underscores the symbiotic relationship between Wall Street and Bloomberg.

“The terminals, with their orange type on black screens that spew real-time market quotes, news and data ranging from sports scores and horoscopes to hedge fund holdings and credit-default swaps, are ubiquitous on Wall Street. Bloomberg, which competes with Reuters, FactSet Research System and News Corporation’s Dow Jones, has more than 314,000 terminal subscriptions worldwide. The income from those subscriptions accounts for about 85 percent of the company’s revenue; each terminal subscription costs about $20,000 a year.

“That income stream has enabled Bloomberg — which is still controlled by its founder, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York — to pay for a huge global news operation of nearly 2,300 journalists who produce some 5,000 reports a day.”

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