Relx Group is a provider of information solutions for professionals across many industries. It is owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV, which are listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, respectively. Shareholders in Reed Elsevier PLC own a 52.9% interest in Relx Group, while Reed Elsevier NV shareholders own a 47.1% interest.

Relx Group, formerly Reed Elsevier, is an UK registered media company and a global provider of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services. In 2017, the STM arm of Elsevier published 430,000 new research articles in more than 2,500 journals. Elsevier’s journals are primarily published and delivered through the ScienceDirect platform, the world’s largest database of scientific and medical research, hosting over 15 million articles and 38,000 e-books.

The company’s strategy involves “systematically migrating all of our information solutions across RELX Group towards higher value-added decision tools, adding broader datasets, embedding more sophisticated analytics and leveraging more powerful technology, primarily through organic development,” according to CEO Erik Engstrom. “By focusing on evolving the fundamentals of our business we believe that, over time, we are improving our business profile and the quality of our earnings.”

Analysis Key Developments

Financial

RELX Group’s reported revenue was up 7% and totaled at 7.36 billion GBP in 2017 (2016: 6.9 billion), reflecting good growth in electronic and face-to-face revenues that were partially offset by a continued decline in print revenue. The group’s revenues break down in the following percentages: 34% for Scientific, Technical Medical; 28% for Risk Business Analytics (NOT included in this Ranking); 23% for Legal; and 15% for Exhibitions (NOT included in this Ranking). Adjusted operating profit was 2.28 billion GBP (2016: 2.11 billion GBP), up 8% due to tight cost control measures across the Group. Engstrom noted: “We achieved good underlying revenue growth in 2017, and continued to generate underlying adjusted operating profit growth ahead of revenue growth. The underlying growth rate reflects good growth in electronic and face-to-face revenues (89% of the total), and the further development of our analytics and decision tools.”

During 2017 the STM segment achieved revenues of 2.48 billion GBP compared to 2.32 billion GBP in 2016. Underlying adjusted operating profit generated growth of 3% and accounted for 913 million GBP in 2017 (2016: 853 million GBP). Revenue from North America accounted for 42%, with 25% from Europe and the remaining 33% from the rest of the world. Print book sales continued to decline with historically low return rates. Print books generated 19% of the segment’s revenue compared to 81% from electronic sales. The Legal segment closed the fiscal year 2017 at 1.69 billion GBP, compared with 1.62 billion GBP in 2016. Seventeen of revenue came from subscription sales and 23% from transactional sales. Besides, underlying adjusted operating profit growth was +11%. Moreover, electronic revenues saw continued growth, partially offset by print declines.

Internal Organization

In July 2017, RELX Group announced the appointment of Suzanne Wood as a Non-executive Director of RELX NV and RELX PLC. She was also appointed a Non-executive Director of RELX Group plc.

Acquisition

In August 2017, Elsevier acquired bepress, a California-based business that helps academic libraries showcase and share their institutions’ research. In June 2017, LexisNexis Legal Professional announced the acquisition of Ravel Law, a legal research, analytics and visualization platform.

In February 2017, Elsevier announced the acquisition of Plum Analytics from EBSCO. Plum Analytics gathers metrics about research from dozens of scholarly sources, media channels and social media, providing a timely, broad and complete measurement of scholarly impact.

International

The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. In 2017 the RELX Group’s revenue by all geographical markets combined was 4.1 billion GBP from North America (2016: 3.78 billion GBP), 522 million GBP from the UK (2016: 504 million GBP), 92 million GBP from the Netherlands (2016: 118 million GBP), 1.08 billion GBP from the rest of Europe (2016: 1.09 billion GBP), and 1.58 billion GBP from the rest of the world (2016: 1.4 billion GBP).

Digital

During 2017 the group’s revenue by format included 5.4 billion GBP from electronic formats (2016: 4.95 billion GBP), 834 million GBP by printed goods (2016: 875 million GBP) and 1.12 billion GBP from face-to-face (2016: 1.1 billion GBP).

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