Reuters has sold its stake in Factiva to its joint venture partner Dow Jones, saying it believes news archives are moving away from subscription-based models to free services on the web.

The deal will see Dow Jones taking full control of the online business information provider and paying $160m for Reuters’ 50% stake.

It plans to add more content from electronic sources to Factiva, reducing its reliance on print publications.

Tom Glocer, Reuters’ chief executive, told the agency’s own news service that he believed the archival news industry was shifting away from paid-for services. “I think it’s really a question of the right time and the right price,” he added.

The deal, according to Reuters, will be completed by the end of this year. It said Factiva had “recorded consistent growth” since its formation in 1999.

According to analysis firm Simba, Factiva posted operating revenue of $281.6m in 2005, and had almost 2m subscribers.

Reuters also published its Q3 results today, reporting a 3.3% rise in revenues to £631m.