Business-information purveyor Thomson ( TOC) and news outfit Reuters ( RTRSY) said Monday that they're highly confident their merger will get cleared "on an expedited timetable." The pair, which last May agreed to combine in a $17 billion stock-and-cash transaction, also slightly pushed back their closing-date estimation to sometime early in the second quarter. In October, they had predicted that this would occur in the first quarter. The companies also said the Justice Department is now expected to come out with its decision on the Thomson buyout "on or about" the same day that the European Commission does the same, having agreed to "more closely" align its review with that of the EC. In October, the DoJ had agreed to render a decision by Jan. 15. In that month, as well, the EC began a "phase II" review of the merger in order "to give it more time to examine the transaction and its impact on the competitive environment," according to the companies. Thomson shares closed off 71 cents, or 2%, at $35.79. Reuters slumped 65 cents, or 0.9%, to $70.14.