Following Merrill's Departure, Thomson's First Call May Face Tough Contract Talks

THIS WEEK'S LEAD STORIES

Merrill Lynch & Co. has decided to pull out of Thomson Financial Networks Inc.'s First Call research distribution service. While industry sources speculate that Merrill's decision may not be irreversible, First Call will face tough challenges soon when it enters negotiations with other large contributors such as Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc. and Salomon Brothers Inc.

Meanwhile, database services company CompuServe Inc. also has plans to get into the financial research business, potentially ri

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