Hugely ambitious Reuters Holdings Plc yesterday announced agreement in principle to acquire the I P Sharp timesharing bureau of Toronto, Canada for UKP30.4m. Sharp, which started out primarily offering remote APL services on a bank of IBM mainframes, has latterly devoted most of its efforts to building up a collection of econometric, energy and aviation databases, and now has 150 of them; timesharing is now down to about 50% of the business. Sharp lost UKP780,000 on turnover of UKP27m, but is attractive to Reuters for a number of reasons, notably that McGraw Hill, one of Reuters’ biggest competitors in on-line commodity and other data, uses the Sharp network to deliver its data. A further attraction is that Reuters now owns another Canadian company that has a product complementary to the Sharp Blend package for global securities trading. The company is privately-held but Canadian government approval is required.