Reed Business Information

Reed Business Information is a provider of data services, business information and marketing solutions to business professionals

Reed Business Information (RBI) provides data services, information and marketing solutions to business professionals in the UK, the US, Continental Europe, Asia and Australia. It produces industry critical data services and lead generation tools, online community and job sites as well as business magazines with market leading positions in many sectors.

Total revenues for the year ended 31 December 2011 were £695m. RBI is a global business headquartered in Sutton in the UK and has principal operations in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Boston, Los Angeles, Skokie (Illinois) and Norcross (Georgia) in the US as well as Paris, Milan, Madrid, Bilbao, Sydney and Shanghai. RBI has 5,600 employees worldwide.

RBI’s data services enable businesses and professionals to enhance productivity through quicker and easier access to insightful and comprehensive industry information. Online marketing solutions, business to business magazines, online lead generation services and community websites provide effective marketing channels for advertisers to reach target audiences and for industry professionals to access valued information.

RBI’s market leading data services include: ICIS, a global information and pricing service for the petrochemicals and energy sector; BankersAccuity (previously Bankers’ Almanac and Accuity), a leading provider of reference data on the banking industry; XpertHR, an online service providing human resources data, regulatory guidance, best practices and tools for HR professionals; and Reed Construction Data, a provider of online construction data to the North American construction industry.

The major online marketing solutions include Hotfrog, a global online business directory. Premier publishing brands include Variety in the US, New Scientist in the UK and the Elsevier magazine in the Netherlands.

In 2011, RBI continued to significantly reshape its portfolio, addressing continued growth opportunities in data services and the accelerated migration of customer marketing spend to web media while managing value from the remaining print businesses.

During the year RBI expanded the data services businesses with three significant acquisitions. In January 2011, RBI completed the transaction to take majority ownership of CBI China, the market leading petrochemical and energy information service in China, bringing unrivalled coverage of the important and growing Chinese and Asian chemicals and energy markets, strengthening ICIS’s global position. In June 2011, RBI acquired Ascend, a leading provider of online fleet data and valuations to the aviation industry, complementing RBI’s existing data and content services and the aerospace platform, Flightglobal. In November 2011, RBI completed the acquisition of Accuity Inc. for a total cost of £343m. Accuity is a leading US provider of online subscription-based data solutions for the financial services industry which enable customers to maximise the accuracy of their banking and payment transactions, and to minimise the risk of non-compliance with government regulations in these transactions. Accuity is being integrated with RBI’s Bankers’ Almanac, to form BankersAccuity, establishing a global standard for payment efficiency and compliance solutions.

RBI continued to create value from its existing magazine brands, whilst exiting a number of titles including those in the computing, social care and road transport markets in the UK and the construction market in the Netherlands. RBI also sold the UK QSS magazine subscription fulfilment business during the course of the year.

Market Opportunities 

The growing need for authoritative industry data and information is driving demand for online subscription data services and providing new opportunities. Business to business marketing spend has historically been driven by levels of corporate profitability, which itself has followed GDP growth, and business investment.

Strategic Priorities 

RBI’s strategic goal is to help business professionals achieve better outcomes with information and decision support in its individual markets. Its areas of strategic focus are: further growing the data services businesses; restructuring the business magazines and advertising driven portfolio, to develop online services in key markets and support print franchises through brand extensions and redesign; and to realign the cost base with revenue expectations and drive further organisational effectiveness.

Business model, distribution channels and competition

Across the RBI portfolio, user and subscription revenues now account for 62% of the total business with the remaining 38% derived from print and online advertising and lead generation. RBI electronic revenue streams now account for 51% of total revenue.

Data services are typically sold directly on a subscription or transactional basis. Business magazines are distributed on a paid or controlled circulation basis. Advertising and lead generation revenues are sold directly or through agents.

RBI’s data services and titles compete with a number of publishers on a service and title by title basis including: UBM, McGraw Hill and Wolters Kluwer as well as many niche and privately-owned competitors. RBI competes for online advertising with other business to business websites as well as Monster, Google and other search engines.

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