RELX

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RELX plc
Public limited company
Traded as
ISINGB00B2B0DG97
IndustryInformation and Analytics
Predecessor
Founded1993; 26 years ago (1993)
(by merger)
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Key people
ProductsInformation and data analytics, academic and business publishing, exhibitions
RevenueIncrease £ 7.492 billion (2018)[1]
Increase £ 1.964 billion (2018)[1]
Decrease £ 1.428 billion (2018)[1]
Total assetsIncrease £ 13.999 billion (2018)[1]
Total equityIncrease £ 2.359 billion (2018)[1]
Number of employees
Decrease ~30,000 (2019)[2]
Subsidiaries
WebsiteRELX.com

RELX plc (pronounced "Rel-ex") is a corporate group comprising companies that publish scientific, technical and medical material, and legal textbooks; provide decision-making tools; and organise exhibitions. It operates in 40 countries and serves customers in over 180 nations.[3] It was previously known as Reed Elsevier, and came into being in 1992 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). About 55 per cent of the company’s revenues are generated from the US, with 23 per cent from Europe and 22 per cent from the rest of the world.[3] The company is one of the constituents of the FTSE 100 Index, Financial Times Global 500 and Euronext 100 Index.

History[edit]

The company, which was previously known as Reed Elsevier, came into being in 1992, as a result of the merger of Reed International, a British trade book and magazine publisher, and Elsevier, a Netherlands-based scientific publisher.[4] The company re-branded itself as RELX in February 2015.[5]

Reed International[edit]

In 1895, Albert E. Reed established a newsprint manufacturing operation at Tovil Mill near Maidstone, Kent.[6]

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.[7]

In 1970, Reed Group merged with the International Publishing Corporation and the company name was changed to Reed International Limited.[6] 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.[6] The original family owners, the Reeds, were Methodists and encouraged good working conditions for their staff in the then-dangerous print trade.[8]

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,[7] while Crown Paint and Polycell were sold to Williams Holdings in 1987.[9] The company's paper and packaging production operations were bundled together to form Reedpack and sold to private equity firm Cinven in 1988.[10]

Amsterdam headquarters of Elsevier

Elsevier NV[edit]

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.[6] Robbers named the company after the old Dutch printers family Elzevir,[6] 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.[6]

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.[11]

Reed Elsevier and RELX[edit]

Significant acquisitions[edit]

Company or division/subsidiary Date Acquisition Value
Reed Elsevier August 1993 Official Airline Guides Inc, a publisher of airline schedules $425 million[12]
Reed Elsevier October 1994 LexisNexis, an on-line information business $1.5 billion[13]
Reed Elsevier March 1997 MDL Information Systems Inc, a US software systems and information database developer $320 million[14]
Reed Elsevier June 1997 Chilton Business Group, a US business information publishing company $447 million[15]
Reed Elsevier April 1998 Matthew Bender & Company Inc, a US publisher of legal information $1.65 billion[16]
Reed Elsevier October 2000 Harcourt, an education publishing business $4.5 billion plus debt[17]
LexisNexis 2004 Seisint of Boca Raton, Florida, which provided the company with access to HPCC Systems for the first time $775 million[18]
Reed Elsevier May 2005 Medimedia, a medical publisher whose imprints included Medicine Publishing and Masson $270 million[19]
Reed Elsevier February 2008 Choicepoint, which had been a spinoff of Equifax's Insurance Services Group in August 1997. The acquisition was completed in September 2008. $4.1 billion[20][21]
Reed Business Information June 2011 Ascend, a London-based civil aviation data analytics company[22]
Reed Elsevier November 2011 US online-data business Accuity Holdings Inc. from investment firm Investcorp £343 million ($530.1 million)[23]
LexisNexis Legal & Professional March 2012 Law360, a US-based online provider of legal information and analysis[24]
Elsevier April 2013 Mendeley, a London-based desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers, discovering research data and collaborating online[25]
LexisNexis Risk Solutions September 2013 Mapflow, a Dublin-based group that helps insurance companies assess geographic risk, in particular in relation to flooding[26]
LexisNexis Risk Solutions April 2014 Tracesmart, a UK-based provider of tracing, identity verification, fraud prevention and anti-money laundering solutions[27]
LexisNexis Risk Solutions May 2014 Wunelli, a telematics data business which uses driving data for insurers, enabling them to reduce risk exposure and deliver discounts to safer drivers[28]
Accuity September 2014 Fircosoft, a Paris-based anti-money laundering company[29]
LexisNexis Risk Solutions November 2014 Health Market Science (HMS), a supplier of high quality data about US healthcare professionals[30]
LexisNexis Risk Solutions January 2015 BAIR Analytics, a US-based law enforcement data company[31]
LexisNexis Legal & Professional July 2015 MLex, a media organization providing exclusive analysis and commentary on regulatory risk[32]
Reed Business Information October 2015 Adaptris, a fast-growing supply chain integration and e-solutions company[33]
LexisNexis Legal & Professional November 2015 Lex Machina, a US-based online provider of legal analytics[34]
LexisNexis Legal & Professional June 2017 Ravel Law, a San Francisco-based legal analytics company[35]
LexisNexis Risk Solutions January 2018 ThreatMetrix, one of the largest repositories of online digital identities in the world £580m ($830m)[36]
Reed Exhibitions February 2018 The Gamer Network of video game journalism websites[37]

Significant divestments[edit]

In February 1997, Reed Elsevier divested its trade publishing group (including Heinemann, Methuen, Secker & Warburg, Sinclair-Stevenson, Mandarin, Minerva and Cedar) to Random House.[38] In 1998, Reed Elsevier sold the children's divisions of Heinemann, Methuen, Hamlyn and Mammoth to the Egmont Group.[39]

In February 2007, the company announced its intention to sell Harcourt, its educational publishing division.[40] 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.[41] 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.[42]

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.[43]

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.[44]

Variety, the company's last remaining North American title, was sold in October 2012.[45]

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.[46][47][48]

In 2016, RELX sold Elsevier Weekly and BeleggersBelangen in the Netherlands.[49]

In 2017 the company sold New Scientist magazine.[50]

Operations and market segments[edit]

Scientific, Technical & Medical[edit]

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 and generated revenues in the year to 31 December 2017 of £2.5 billion.[3]

ScienceDirect, an online database of primary research, contains 13 million documents.[51]

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.[52]

Mendeley is a desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers, discovering research data and collaborating online.[53]

Elsevier is the world's largest publisher of academic articles with 16 per cent market share, according to the Financial Times. It publishes 420,000 articles a year in about 2,500 journals.[3] 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.[54]

Risk & Business Analytics[edit]

Risk & Business Analytics provides decision-making tools which help banks spot money launderers and insurance companies weed out fraudulent claims.[55]

The business claims to have saved the state of Florida more than $60 million a year by preventing benefit fraud.[56] Leading brands include Flightglobal and Farmers Weekly.[57] In 2015, Forbes Magazine voted LexisNexis, a RELX company, one of the top 10 employers in the US Technology Sector.[58]

Accuity Inc.[edit]

Accuity Inc., operates globally within the Risk & Business Analytics division of RELX. The firm provides financial crime compliance software[59] which allows institutions to comply with sanctions and anti-money laundering compliance programmes.[60] It offers KYC, online subscription-based data and software solutions for the financial services industry.[61] The company’s services include helping banks and financial institutions screen for high risk customers and transactions,[62] and providing databases such as Bankers Almanac which allows clients to find and validate bank payment routing data.[60] Accuity serves financial services clients worldwide.[61]

Cirium[edit]

Cirium operates globally within the Risk & Business Analytics division of RELX. The firm provides data and analytics solutions for the wider travel industry. Cirium's data and analytics portfolio comprises Cirium Solutions and Cirium Professional Services - Ascend by Cirium. The publishing, events and jobs part of the business operates as FlightGlobal under the Cirium portfolio. [63]

Legal[edit]

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.[64]

Exhibitions[edit]

RELX's exhibitions business is called Reed Exhibitions. It is the world’s largest exhibitions company, running 500 shows for 140,000 exhibitors and 7m visitors.[65][66]

In January 2013, shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting when 20 children and six adult staff members were killed, Reed Exhibitions caused an uproar at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show when it decided to not allow assault weapons and high-capacity magazines at the show.[67] This decision caused a huge backlash and subsequent boycott that eventually shut the show down for that year.[68] Also the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) terminated their management of the SHOT show held in Las Vegas every year.[69]

Governance[edit]

As of 2017, the board of directors consisted of:[3]

  • Chief Executive: Erik Engstrom
  • Chairman: Anthony Habgood
  • Chief Financial Officer: Nick Luff
  • Non-executive directors:
    • Wolfhart Hauser
    • Robert MacLeod
    • Carol Mills
    • Adrian Hennah
    • Marike van Lier Lels
    • Linda Sanford
    • Ben van der Veer
    • Suzanne Wood

Corporate affairs[edit]

Corporate strategy[edit]

From 2011 to 2014, the average annual value of disposals was about $300m.[29] The predictability of the company’s results in recent years has led to a re-rating of the shares.[70][71][72]

Financial performance[edit]

RELX Combined[3] 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Revenue (£m) 5,166 4,509 4,584 5,334 6,071 6,055 6,002 6,116 6,035 5,773 5,971 6,895 7,355 7,492
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
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
Adjusted EPS (€) € 0.70 € 0.76 € 0.80 € 0.87 € 0.79 € 0.78 € 0.83 € 0.95 € 0.99 € 1.07 €0.835 €0.880 €0.923 €0.982

Social responsibility[edit]

The RELX Environmental Challenge awards grants to projects advancing access to safe water and sanitation.[73]

The Elsevier Foundation supports libraries in developing countries, women scientists and nursing facilities.[74] 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.[75]

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.[76]
  • 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.[77]

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.[78] As of 2017 the programme has helped trace 177 missing children.[3]
  • Social Media Monitor, which assists law enforcement officials in investigating serious crimes such as drug dealing and human trafficking.[79]

Controversy[edit]

Boycott[edit]

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.[80] The movement has received support from noted science bloggers, such as biologist Jonathan Eisen.[81] Between 2012 and November 2015, about 15,391 scientists signed The Cost of Knowledge boycott. In 2016, Elsevier received 1.5 million article submissions.[82]

2019 UC system negotiations[edit]

On 28 February 2019 following long negotiations, the University of California announced it would be terminating all subscriptions with Elsevier.[83]

Privacy[edit]

As a data broker Reed Elsevier collected, used, and sold data on millions of consumers.[84] 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.[85] 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.[85]

Defence exhibitions[edit]

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.[86] 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.[87][88] 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.[89] Subsequently in June the company announced that they would be exiting the defence exhibition business during the second half of the year.[90]

References[edit]

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Additional references[edit]

External links[edit]