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Reed International

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Title: Reed International  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Richie Havens, IPC Media, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, Harvill Secker, Robert Maxwell, Heinemann (publisher), Ontario Minamata disease, Hamlyn (publishers), Mark Haysom
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Reed International

Reed Elsevier PLC/N.V.
Dual-listed public limited company / Naamloze vennootschap
Traded as Template:Lse, RUK
Industry Media
Founded Merger of Elsevier and Reed International PLC in 1993
Headquarters London and Amsterdam
Key people Anthony Habgood (Chairman), Erik Engstrom (CEO)
Products Publishing, academic and business publishing, trade fairs
Revenue £6.116 billion (2012)[1]
Operating income £1.358 billion (2012)[1]
Net income £1.074 billion (2012)[1]
Employees 32,200 (end 2010)
Subsidiaries Elsevier
Reed Exhibitions
Reed Business Information

Reed Elsevier is a publisher and information provider operating in the science, medical, legal, risk and business sectors. It is listed on several of the world's major stock exchanges. It is a FTSE 100 and FT Global 500 company.[2] The Reed Elsevier group is a dual-listed company consisting of Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV.[3]


The company came into being in Autumn 1992 as the result of a merger between Reed International, a British trade book and magazine publisher, and the Dutch science publisher Elsevier.[4]

Reed International

In 1894, Albert E. Reed established a newsprint manufacturing operation at Tovil Mill near Maidstone, Kent.[5] In 1903, Albert E Reed was registered as a public company.[5]

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.[6]

In 1970, Reed Group merged with the International Publishing Corporation and the company name was changed to Reed International Limited.[5] 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.[5] The original family owners, the Reeds, were Methodists and encouraged good working conditions for their staff in the then-dangerous print trade.

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 that year,[6] while Crown Paint and Polycell were sold to Williams Holdings in 1987.[7] The company's paper and packaging production operations were bundled together to form Reedpack and sold to private equity firm Cinven in 1988.[8]

Elsevier NV

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.[5] Robbers named the company after the old Dutch printers family Elzevir,[5] 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 Elseviers Weekblad, which turned out to be very profitable. A rapid expansion followed. Elsevier Press Inc. started in 1951 in Houston, Texas, 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.[9]

21st century

In February 2007, Reed Elsevier announced its intention to sell Harcourt, its educational publishing division.[10] 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.[11] In July 2007, Reed Elsevier announced its agreement to sell the remaining Harcourt Education business, including international imprint Heinemann, to Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep Group for $4b in cash and stock.[12]

In February 2008, shareholders of Choicepoint voted in favor of acquisition by Reed Elsevier for $4.1 billion. Choicepoint is an American data aggregation company with personal files on more than 220 million people in the US and Latin America. The acquisition was completed in September 2008.[13]

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.[14]

In September 2009 Reed Elsevier's Technology Division ('RETS'), who provide internal IT support across all business units, announced that European support services would be outsourced to the Indian firm HCL.[15]

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.[16][17]

In November 2011 Reed Elsevier purchased U.S. online-data business Accuity Holdings Inc. from investment firm Investcorp for £343 million ($530.1 million) in cash.[18]


Reed Elsevier conducts its business through the following divisions:

  • The science and medical publishing division is Elsevier.
  • The risk division is LexisNexis Risk Solutions.
  • The legal publishing division is LexisNexis Legal & Professional. LexisNexis combines Butterworths, Tolley, LexisNexis, Visualfiles, and InterAction and services clients in law, tax & accounting, corporations, public sector, academic institutions and risk and compliance.
  • The exhibitions division is Reed Exhibitions.
  • The business division is Reed Business Information

Key products

ScienceDirect contains over 25% of the world's science, technology and medicine full text and bibliographic information.

Scopus is the world's largest abstract and citation database of research literature and quality web sources. Scopus is updated daily.

Reed Business Information, Reed Elsevier's global Business division, is a provider of data services, business information and marketing solutions in multiple formats, across five continents. Its prestige brands serve professionals across a diverse range of industries. These brands include New Scientist, Elsevier, ICIS and XpertHR.

Pricing issues

Reed Elsevier has been criticised for the high prices of its journals and services, especially Elsevier and LexisNexis. Members of the scientific community have called for a boycott of Elsevier journals and a move to open access publications. In January 2012, this movement gained momentum with an online petition (The Cost of Knowledge) initiated by mathematician and Fields medalist Timothy Gowers.[19] The movement has received support from noted science bloggers, such as biologist Jonathan Eisen.[20]

Defence exhibitions

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, Dr. Tom Stafford of Sheffield University and Dr Nick Gill, launched petitions calling on Reed Elsevier to stop organising arms fairs.[21][22] 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.[23][24]

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.[25] He suggested that if academics began to disengage with Reed Elsevier, the company would be likely to end their arms fairs, as arms fairs only comprise a small proportion of their business.

On 1 June 2007, Reed Elsevier announced that they would be exiting the Defence Exhibition business during the second half of 2007.[26]


Additional references

  • Guardian Unlimited, Bad Science by Ben Goldacre about Open Access and DSEI arms trade
  • media profile: Reed Elsevier historical overview
  • Double Dutch No Longer in-depth article about the company from 2002 (
  • Duncan Palmer Becomes Reed Elsevier CFO Online article about the new CFO of Reed Elsevier, Accessed 09/17/2012

External links

Companies portal
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