|Type||Public limited company|
|Industry||Information and analytics|
|Headquarters||London, England, UK|
|Products||Information and data analytics, academic and business publishing, exhibitions|
|Revenue||£8.553 billion (2022)|
|£2.323 billion (2022)|
|£1.632 billion (2022)|
|Total assets||£15.829 billion (2022)|
|Total equity||£3.754 billion (2022)|
Number of employees
RELX plc (pronounced "Rel-ex") is a British multinational information and analytics company headquartered in London, England. Its businesses provide scientific, technical and medical information and analytics; legal information and analytics; decision-making tools; and organise exhibitions. It operates in 40 countries and serves customers in over 180 nations. It was previously known as Reed Elsevier, and came into being in 1993 as a result of the merger of Reed International, a British trade book and magazine publisher, and Elsevier, a Netherlands-based scientific publisher.
The company is publicly listed, with shares traded on the London Stock Exchange, Amsterdam Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbols: London: REL, Amsterdam: REN, New York: RELX). The company is one of the constituents of the FTSE 100 Index, Financial Times Global 500 and Euronext 100 Index.
The company, which was previously known as Reed Elsevier, came into being in 1993, as a result of the merger of Reed International, a British trade book and magazine publisher, and Elsevier, a Netherlands-based scientific publisher. The company re-branded itself as RELX in February 2015.
In 1895, Albert E. Reed established a newsprint manufacturing operation at Tovil Mill near Maidstone, Kent. The Reed family were Methodists and encouraged good working conditions for their staff in the then-dangerous print trade.
In 1965, Reed Group, as it was then known, became a conglomerate, creating its Decorative Products Division with the purchase of Crown Paints, Polycell and Sanderson's wallpaper and DIY decorating interests.
In 1970, Reed Group merged with the International Publishing Corporation and the company name was changed to Reed International Limited. The company continued to grow by merging with other publishers and produced high quality trade journals as IPC Business Press Ltd and women's and other consumer magazines as IPC magazines Ltd. Reed entered the United States in 1977 by acquiring Cahners Publications, founded by Norman Cahners.
In 1985 the company decided to rationalise its operations, focusing on publishing and selling off its other interests. Sanderson was sold to WestPoint Pepperell, Inc. of Georgia, United States, that year, while Crown Paint and Polycell were sold to Williams Holdings in 1987. The company's paper and packaging production operations were bundled together to form Reedpack and sold to private equity firm Cinven in 1988. Reed expanded its publishing by acquiring Technical Publishing from Dun & Bradstreet.
In 1880, Jacobus George Robbers started a publishing company called NV Uitgeversmaatschappij Elsevier (Elsevier Publishing Company NV) to publish literary classics and the encyclopedia Winkler Prins. Robbers named the company after the old Dutch printers family Elzevir, which, for example, published the works of Erasmus in 1587. Elsevier NV originally was based in Rotterdam but moved to Amsterdam in the late 1880s.
Up to the 1930s, Elsevier remained a small family-owned publisher, with no more than ten employees. After the war it launched the weekly Elsevier magazine, which turned out to be very profitable. A rapid expansion followed. Elsevier Press Inc. started in 1951 in Houston, Texas, USA, and in 1962 publishing offices were opened in London and New York. Multiple mergers in the 1970s led to name changes, settling at "Elsevier Scientific Publishers" in 1979. In 1991, two years before the merger with Reed, Elsevier acquired Pergamon Press in the UK.
Cahners Publishing, founded by Norman Cahners, was the largest U.S. publisher of trade or business magazines as of his death in 1986. Reed Elsevier acquired the company in 1977.
Reed Elsevier and RELX
|Division or subsidiary of RELX||Date||Acquisition||Value|
|Cahners Publishing||1986-09||Technical Publishing Inc, a publisher of industrial, medical and technology trade magazines, from Dun & Bradstreet||$250 million|
|Reed Elsevier||1993-08||Official Airline Guides Inc, a publisher of airline schedules||$425 million|
|Reed Elsevier||1994-10||LexisNexis, an on-line information business||$1.5 billion|
|Reed Elsevier||1997-03||MDL Information Systems Inc, a US software systems and information database developer||$320M|
|Reed Elsevier||1997-06||Chilton Business Group, a US business information publishing company||$447M|
|Reed Elsevier||1998-04||Matthew Bender & Company Inc, a US publisher of legal information||$1.65bn|
|Reed Elsevier||2000-10||Harcourt, an education publishing business||$4.5bn plus debt|
|LexisNexis||2004-07||Seisint of Boca Raton, Florida, which provided the company with access to HPCC Systems for the first time||$775M|
|Reed Elsevier||2005-05||Medimedia, a medical publisher whose imprints included Medicine Publishing and Masson||$270M|
|Reed Elsevier||2008-02||Choicepoint, which had been a spinoff of Equifax's Insurance Services Group in August 1997. The acquisition was completed in September 2008.||$4.1bn|
|Reed Business Information||2011-06||Ascend, a London-based civil aviation data analytics company||Undisclosed|
|Reed Elsevier||2011-11||US online-data business Accuity Holdings Inc. from investment firm Investcorp||£343M ($530.1M)|
|LexisNexis Legal & Professional||2012-03||Law360, a US-based online provider of legal information and analysis||Undisclosed|
|Elsevier||2013-04||Mendeley, a London-based desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers, discovering research data and collaborating online||Undisclosed but up to $100M|
|LexisNexis Risk Solutions||2013-09||Mapflow, a Dublin-based group that helps insurance companies assess geographic risk, in particular in relation to flooding||Undisclosed|
|LexisNexis Risk Solutions||2014-04||Tracesmart, a UK-based provider of tracing, identity verification, fraud prevention and anti-money laundering software||Undisclosed|
|LexisNexis Risk Solutions||2014-05||Wunelli, a telematics data business which uses driving data for insurers, enabling them to reduce risk exposure and deliver discounts to safer drivers||£25m|
|Accuity||2014-09||Fircosoft, a Paris-based anti-money laundering company||€150M|
|LexisNexis Risk Solutions||2014-11||Health Market Science (HMS), a supplier of high quality data about US healthcare professionals||Undisclosed|
|LexisNexis Risk Solutions||2015-01||BAIR Analytics, a US-based law enforcement data company||Undisclosed|
|LexisNexis Legal & Professional||2015-07||MLex, a media organization providing exclusive analysis and commentary on regulatory risk||Undisclosed|
|Reed Business Information||2015-10||Adaptris, a fast-growing supply chain integration business||Undisclosed|
|LexisNexis Legal & Professional||2015-11||Lex Machina, a US-based online provider of legal analytics||Undisclosed|
|LexisNexis Risk Solutions||2016-07||Insurance Initiatives, Ltd. (IIL), a business which provides a data distribution platform that extracts, hosts and processes large quantities of data to deliver information predominantly into the point-of-quote in the UK's Property & Casualty Insurance industry.||Undisclosed|
|LexisNexis Legal & Professional||2017-06||Ravel Law, a San Francisco-based legal analytics company||Undisclosed|
|LexisNexis Risk Solutions||2018-01||ThreatMetrix, one of the largest repositories of online digital identities in the world||£580M ($830M)|
|Reed Exhibitions||2018-02||The Gamer Network of video game journalism websites||Undisclosed|
|LexisNexis Risk Solutions||2020-01||ID Analytics ||$375m|
|LexisNexis Risk Solutions||2020-02||Emailage||$480m|
In February 1997, Reed Elsevier divested its trade publishing group (including Heinemann, Methuen, Secker & Warburg, Sinclair-Stevenson, Mandarin, Minerva and Cedar) to Random House. In 1998, Reed Elsevier sold the children's divisions of Heinemann, Methuen, Hamlyn and Mammoth to the Egmont Group.
In February 2007, the company announced its intention to sell Harcourt, its educational publishing division. On 4 May 2007 Pearson, the international education and information company, announced that it had agreed to acquire Harcourt Assessment and Harcourt Education International from Reed Elsevier for $950m in cash. In July 2007, Reed Elsevier announced its agreement to sell the remaining Harcourt Education business, including international imprint Heinemann, to Houghton Mifflin for $4 billion in cash and stock.
Between 2006 and 2019, in 65 separate deals, the company systematically sold its 300 print, business to business magazine titles, reducing the proportion of print revenues from 51% to 9%. Advertising, which had been the largest source of revenues when RELX was founded, represented just 1% of sales in 2018.
In July 2009, Reed Elsevier announced its intention to sell most of its North American trade publications, including Publishers Weekly, Broadcasting & Cable, and Multichannel News, although it planned to retain Variety.
In April 2010, Reed Elsevier announced that it had sold 21 US magazines to other owners in recent months, and that an additional 23 US trade magazines, including Restaurants & Institutions, Hotels, and Trade Show Week would cease publication. The closures were mostly due to the weak economy including an advertising slump.
Variety, the company's last remaining North American title, was sold in October 2012.
In 2014, Reed Business Information sold BuyerZone, an online marketplace; emedia, an American provider of research for IT buyers and vendors; and a majority stake in Reed Construction Data, a provider of construction data.
In 2016, RELX sold Elsevier Weekly and BeleggersBelangen in the Netherlands.
In 2017 the company sold New Scientist magazine.
In January 2019, RBI sold its Dutch agricultural media and selected international agricultural media portfolio (including Poultry World) to Doorakkeren BV.
In August 2019, Flight International and FlightGlobal were sold to DVV Media Group.
In December 2019, RBI announced plans to sell the Farmers Weekly magazine title, website and related platforms, events and awards to MA Agriculture Limited, part of the Mark Allen Group.
Operations and market segments
Scientific, Technical & Medical
RELX's Scientific, Technical & Medical business provides information, analytics and tools that help investors make decisions that improve scientific and healthcare outcomes. It operates under the name of Elsevier:
ScienceDirect, an online database of primary research, contains 18 million documents.
Scopus is a bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles. It contains more than 50 million items in more 20,000 titles from 5,000 publishers worldwide.
Mendeley is a desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers, discovering research data and collaborating online.
Elsevier is the world's largest publisher of academic articles. It published 600,000 articles in 2021. Its best-known titles are The Lancet and Cell. In 1995, Forbes magazine (wrongly) predicted Elsevier would be "the first victim of the internet" as it was disrupted and disintermediated by the World Wide Web.
Risk Solutions Group
Risk Solutions Group provide decision-making tools which help banks spot money launderers and insurance companies weed out fraudulent claims.
The business claims to have saved the state of Florida more than $60 million a year by preventing benefit fraud.
Accuity provides financial crime compliance software which allows institutions to comply with sanctions and anti-money laundering compliance programmes. It offers Know Your Customer, KYC, online subscription-based data and software for the financial services industry. The company's services include helping banks and financial institutions screen for high risk customers and transactions, and providing databases such as Bankers Almanac which allows clients to find and validate bank payment routing data. Accuity serves financial services clients worldwide.
Cirium (previously known as FlightGlobal) provides data and aviation analytics products to the aviation, finance and travel industries.
RELX's legal business operates under the LexisNexis brand. Many of LexisNexis' brands date back to the nineteenth century or earlier. These include Butterworths and Tolley in the UK and JurisClasseur in France. In 2019, 85% of its revenues were electronic. The LexisNexis legal and news database contains 119bn documents and records.
RELX's exhibitions business is called RX, formerly Reed Exhibitions. It is the world's largest exhibitions company, running 500 shows for 140,000 exhibitors and 7m visitors.
As of 2021[update], the board of directors consisted of:
- Chief Executive: Erik Engström
- Chair: Paul Walker
- Chief Financial Officer: Nick Luff
- Non-executive directors:
- Wolfhart Hauser
- Robert MacLeod
- Charlotte Hogg
- June Felix
- Marike van Lier Lels
- Linda Sanford
- Andrew Sukawaty
- Suzanne Wood
In 2019, Harvard Business Review ranked Erik Engström the world's 11th best performing CEO.
In August 2020, RELX announced Sir Anthony Habgood would retire as Chair, to be replaced by Paul Walker in the first half of 2021.
From 2011 to 2014, the average annual value of disposals was about $300m. The predictability of the company's results in recent years has led to a re-rating of the shares.
|Adjusted operating profit (£m)||1,142||1,081||1,137||1,379||1,570||1,555||1,626||1,713||1,749||1,739||1,822||2,114||2,284||2,346||2,491||2,076||2,210||2,683|
|Adjusted EPS (p)||31.5p||33.6p||35.9p||44.6p||45.9p||43.4p||46.7p||50.1p||54.0p||56.3p||60.5p||72.2p||81.0p||84.7p||93.0p||80.1p||87.6p||102.2p|
The RELX Environmental Challenge awards grants to projects advancing access to safe water and sanitation.
In 2019, Mike Walsh, CEO of LexisNexis, was honoured by the UN Foundation with a Global Leadership award for the company's work in advancing the Rule of Law - recognizing the company's commitment to strengthening equality under law, transparency of law, independent judiciaries and accessible legal remedy.
The Elsevier Foundation supports libraries in developing countries, women scientists and nursing facilities. In 2016 it committed $1m a year, for 3 years, to programmes encouraging diversity in science, technology and medicine and promoting science research in developing countries.
Programmes operated by LexisNexis Legal & Professional include:
- With the Atlantic Council, launching the first draft of the Global Rule of Law Business Principles which will help businesses, law firms and NGOs promote and uphold the rule of law.
- With the International Bar Association, launching an application called eyeWitness to Atrocities, designed to capture GPS coordinates, date and time stamps, sensory and movement data, and the location of nearby objects such as Wi-Fi networks. The technology also creates a secure chain of custody to help verify that the images and video has not been edited or digitally manipulated. The goal is to create content that can be used in a court of law to prosecute perpetrators of atrocities and human rights abuses.
Programmes operated by LexisNexis Risk Solutions include:
- The ADAM (Automated Delivery of Alerts on Missing Children) programme in the US, developed by employees in 2000, which assists in the recovery of missing children through a system of targeted alerts. As of 2017[update] the programme has helped trace 177 missing children.
- Social Media Monitor, which assists law enforcement officials in investigating serious crimes such as drug dealing and human trafficking.
Mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows
The mercury contamination of the Wabigoon River in Ontario Canada by a corporate subsidiary between 1962 and 1970 was "one of the worst cases of environmental poisoning in Canadian history." Reed sold the Dryden Mill to Great Lakes Forest Products in 1980. As of 2017 Grassy Narrows First Nation chief Simon Fobister stated that the river remained highly contaminated.
Reed Elsevier has been criticised for the high prices of its journals and services, especially those published by Elsevier. It has also supported SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act, although it no longer supports the last. Because of this, members of the scientific community have boycotted Elsevier journals. In January 2012, the boycott gained an online pledge and petition (The Cost of Knowledge) initiated by mathematician and Fields medalist Sir Timothy Gowers. The movement has received support from noted science bloggers, such as biologist Jonathan Eisen. Between 2012 and February 2023, about 20,500 scientists signed The Cost of Knowledge boycott.
2019 UC system negotiations
On 28 February 2019, following long negotiations, the University of California announced it would be terminating all subscriptions with Elsevier. On 16 March 2021, following further negotiations and significant changes including (i) universal open access to University of California research and (ii) containing the "excessively high costs" being charged by publishers, the university renewed its subscription.
As a data broker Reed Elsevier collected, used, and sold data on millions of consumers. In 2005, a security breach occurred through a recently purchased subsidiary, Seisint, which allowed identity thieves to steal the records of at least 316,000 people. The database contained names, current and prior addresses, dates of birth, drivers license numbers and Social Security numbers, among other data obtained from credit reporting agencies and other sources. In 2008 the company settled an action taken against it by the Federal Trade Commission for multiple failures of security practice in how the data was stored and protected. The settlement required Reed Elsevier and Seisint to establish and maintain a comprehensive security program to protect nonpublic personal information.
Between 2005 and 2007, members of the medical and scientific communities, which purchase and use many journals published by Reed Elsevier, agitated for the company to cut its links to the arms trade. Two UK academics, Tom Stafford of Sheffield University and Nick Gill, launched petitions calling for it to stop organising arms fairs. A subsidiary, Spearhead, organised defence shows, including an event where it was reported that cluster bombs and extremely powerful riot control equipment were offered for sale. In February 2007 Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal, published an editorial in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine arguing that Reed Elsevier's involvement in both the arms trade and medical publishing constituted a conflict of interest. Subsequently, in June the company announced that they would be exiting the defence exhibition business during the second half of the year.
Collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
In November 2019, legal scholars and human rights activists called on RELX to cease work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because their product LexisNexis directly contributes to the deportation of illegal immigrants.
Support for fossil fuel expansion
An article in The Guardian in February 2022 revealed that Elsevier products and services support expanding the production aims of the fossil fuel industry. The company disclosed that it is "not prepared to draw a line between the transition away from fossil fuels and the expansion of oil and gas extraction."
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- ^ a b "Agency Announces Settlement of Separate Actions Against Retailer TJX, and Data Brokers Reed Elsevier and Seisint for Failing to Provide Adequate Security for Consumers Data". Federal Trade Commission. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- ^ "Elsevier petition". idiolect.org.uk. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- ^ Shah, Saeed (14 September 2005). "Cluster bombs on offer at arms fair despite sales ban". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 21 February 2007.
- ^ Norton-Taylor, Richard (16 September 2005). "Banned stun guns and leg irons advertised at arms fair". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 21 February 2007.
- ^ Smith, Richard (20 February 2007). "Lancet publishers condemned over promotion of arms". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Retrieved 18 March 2007.
- ^ "Reed Elsevier says to exit defence industry shows". Reuters. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
- ^ Currier, Cora (14 November 2019). "Lawyers and Scholars to LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters: Stop Helping ICE Deport People". The Intercept.
- ^ "Revealed: leading climate research publisher helps fuel oil and gas drilling". 24 February 2022. Retrieved 1 October 2022.
- General references
- Guardian Unlimited, "Bad Science" by Ben Goldacre about Open Access and DSEI arms trade
- ketupa.net media profile: Reed Elsevier historical overview
- "Double Dutch No Longer"—in-depth article about the company from 2002 (Forbes.com)
- "Duncan Palmer Becomes Reed Elsevier CFO"—Online article about the new CFO of Reed Elsevier, accessed 09/17/2012
- Business data for RELX PLC:
- Business data for RELX NV:
- Bibliographic database providers
- Book publishing companies of the United Kingdom
- Companies listed on the London Stock Exchange
- Companies listed on Euronext Amsterdam
- Data brokers
- Multinational companies based in the City of London
- Multinational companies headquartered in England
- Multinational publishing companies
- Publishing companies established in 1993