Partnerships / Acquisitions

Analytics Co RELX Buys Anti-Fraud Startup Emailage For $480M

RELX will acquire Arizona-based Emailage for $480 million in the former's push to establish a footprint in the fraud prevention market, according to Financial Times (FT). Using machine learning, its own data and its network of partner companies that extends all over the world, Emailage can predict fraud with email addresses and online identities.

While RELX didn't disclose the price of the deal, a person familiar with the dealings valued it at around $480 million, according to FT.

RELX's acquisition of Emailage is just one among its string of recent takeovers. Last month, the company spent $375 million to buy San Diego-based ID Analytics. Before that, in 2018, it acquired ThreatMetrix — a digital identity firm that tracks around 1.2 billion people worldwide, looking at digital patterns to assess risks — for $817 million.

In the past, RELX was known as Reed Elsevier, and used to work only in the pure publishing field. However, over the last decade, amid changing consumer needs, it rebranded itself to start working in the field of business information and data services.

The company's share price was up 1 percent on Tuesday (Feb. 4) morning. Its share price has quadrupled during the tenure of CEO Erik Engstrom over the last 10 years.

Last year, RELX sold Farmers Weekly, leaving only one title in what was once a collection of more 300.

The company's revenues used to come from advertising, but that now only makes up around 1 percent of its £7.49 billion ($9.75 billion USD) in sales. Last summer, the company missed growth expectations for the first time in four years, which caused concern over changes in the academic publishing business.

The company still pulls in about one-third of its revenue from Elsevier, its subscription-based academic publishing arm. However, that exposes it to global risks, as a growing movement of people want academic publications to be freely available to the public — not hidden behind subscriptions and paywalls.

RELX has also been involved in public disagreements with numerous universities — as university budgets shrink and RELX's profit margins remain high.

In addition, RELX made pre-tax profits of £2.15 billion in 2018. It plans to release more recent numbers soon.

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