Wednesday, 28th September 2011
While financial crises continue to make the news headlines three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, business information providers realise that the need for banking intelligence and compliance products is stronger than ever.
Tim Buckley Owen reported recently on Wolters Kluwer’s aims to strengthen its position in the area of legal compliance and corporate governance. Now, Wolters Kluwer's competitor Reed Elsevier has added to its Risk Solutions portfolio by acquiring Illinois-based Accuity Holdings Inc for £343 million. This marks the company’s largest deal since Erik Engstrom became CEO in 2009.
According to the press release, Accuity, a provider of payment routing, AML and compliance-related data to the financial services industry, will complement both RBI’s Bankers’ Almanac and LexisNexis Risk Solutions. The Risk Solutions division, which incorporates Accurint, Screening Solutions and RiskView amongst others, is in fact the company’s most promising, so it is little wonder that Engstrom decided to expand this area of the business. As Reed Elsevier’s 2011 interim results showed, Risk Solutions showed a 3% revenue growth and a 5% increase in operating profit for the first half of this year, with the company expecting “good growth in data and analytics and new product initiatives continuing across all the businesses”.
This is in contrast to the -1% revenue growth rate posted by the Legal & Professional division, as reported by Nancy Davis Kho.
Accuity will be incorporated into Reed Business Information, the B2B publishing side of Reed Elsevier that only last year sold off most of its US publishing operations. Accuity’s online and print business – it publishes several financial services directories aimed at the US market - is however in the right industry sector. The acquisition has prompted mixed reactions from analysts. While the Times mentioned a Morgan Stanley analyst who thought “the takeover had injected growth and high-quality subscription-based revenue” into the business, Bloomberg quoted an analyst who believed that Reed Elsevier was moving into a more crowded and highly competitive area.
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