Reed Elsevier puts Reed Business Information in play; acquires ChoicePoint

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London—Anglo-Dutch media giant Reed Elsevier announced late last Wednesday that it is divesting Reed Business Information to reduce its exposure to cyclical advertising markets. RBI’s major titles include Broadcasting & Cable, Publishers Weekly and Variety.

Reed Elsevier plans to retain Reed Exhibitions.

Salina Le Bris, a spokeswoman for RBI, said the company had no comment on the parent company’s decision to divest RBI.

“RBI is a well-managed, high-quality business as evidenced by the success of its online growth and the control of costs,” said Reed Elsevier CEO Crispin Davis in a news release. “Its advertising revenue model and the inherent cyclicality fit less well however with the subscription-based information and work flow solutions focus of Reed Elsevier’s strategy.” Private equity firm Apax Partners may bid for RBI, according to a report last Friday in The Times of London. Apax owns b-to-b media company Incisive Media. In December, in partnership with Guardian Media Group, it acquired Emap’s b-to-b division for $2 billion. In August, Incisive acquired ALM Media from U.S. Equity Partners for $630 million in cash.

A spokesman in Apax’s New York office could not be reached for comment on The Times of London report.

Reed Elsevier also announced last week that it has agreed to buy ChoicePoint, which provides technology and information-based risk management products, for $4.1 billion.

The company said that combining ChoicePoint with its LexisNexis Risk Information and Analytics Group will create a risk management business with $1.5 billion in revenue. The deal is expected to close this summer.

Reed on Wednesday announced its 2007 earnings results. In the U.S., RBI’s underlying revenue was essentially flat at $1.9 billion while adjusted operating profit was up 7% to $562 million, from $524 million in 2006. Online revenue was up 20%, while print revenue fell 2%.

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