Still, most of Thomson’s wealth comes from his share of the family’s controlling stake in the media business. He sits on the board of the company with his brother David, 65, the third Baron Thomson of Fleet and Thomson Reuters’s chairman. They also chair Woodbridge, the entity that controls their family’s stake in the media firm along with Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

The Thomsons have returned to their business roots in recent years. They sold a majority stake in their financial-data business to a group led by Blackstone in 2018, breaking up the merger of Thomson Corp. and Reuters Group Plc that David had orchestrated only a decade earlier. The London Stock Exchange Group Plc then acquired that division in a $27 billion deal that closed in early 2021. 

Those sales are helping return cash to Canada’s richest clan. The family’s holding company has received more than $6 billion in dividends over the past decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

Thomson’s venture-capital arm is now looking to expand a team that currently has about eight employees in San Francisco. The firm typically allocates between $5 million and $25 million per transaction and aims for gains of at least 200% -- a target it’s often met since it made its first investment of at least $1 million a quarter-of-a-century ago. It has also partnered with larger players such as Sequoia Capital. 

Like at other venture-capital firms, some of the bets haven’t panned out. Thomvest Ventures is underwater on two of its early-stage investments of at least $1 million over the past couple of decades and has lost smaller sums on a few others, Butler said.

While the firm has avoided crypto, Butler said it’s interested in decentralized finance, the movement known as DeFi that aims to replace traditional banking with software using blockchains.

“Sometimes you’ll see people say, ‘This feels like the next big thing,’” Butler said. “That is very much how we’re sensing this right now.”

--With assistance from Derek Decloet.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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