RELX plc is a British corporate group comprising companies that publish scientific, technical and medical material, and legal textbooks; provide decision-making tools; and organise exhibitions. It operates in 40 countries and serves customers in over 180 nations. It was previously known as Reed Elsevier, and came into being in 1992 as a result of the merger of Reed International, a British trade book and magazine publisher, and Elsevier, a Netherlands-based scientific publisher.
The company is publicly listed, with shares traded on the London Stock Exchange, Amsterdam Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange. The company is one of the constituents of the FTSE 100 Index, Financial Times Global 500 and Euronext 100 Index.


The company, which was previously known as Reed Elsevier, came into being in 1992, as a result of the merger of Reed International, a British trade book and magazine publisher, and Elsevier, a Netherlands-based scientific publisher. The company re-branded itself as RELX in February 2015.

Reed International

In 1895, Albert E. Reed established a newsprint manufacturing operation at Tovil Mill near Maidstone, Kent.
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.
In 1970, Reed Group merged with the International Publishing Corporation and the company name was changed to Reed International Limited. 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. 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, United States, that year, while Crown Paint and Polycell were sold to Williams Holdings in 1987. The company's paper and packaging production operations were bundled together to form Reedpack and sold to private equity firm Cinven in 1988.

Elsevier NV

In 1880, Jacobus George Robbers started a publishing company called NV Uitgeversmaatschappij Elsevier to publish literary classics and the encyclopedia Winkler Prins. Robbers named the company after the old Dutch printers family Elzevir, 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 Elsevier magazine, which turned out to be very profitable. A rapid expansion followed. Elsevier Press Inc. started in 1951 in Houston, Texas, USA, 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.

Cahners Publishing

Cahners Publishing, founded by Norman Cahners, was the largest U.S. publisher of trade or business magazines as of his death in 1986. Reed Elsevier acquired the company in 1977.

Reed Elsevier and RELX

Significant acquisitions

Significant divestments

In February 1997, Reed Elsevier divested its trade publishing group to Random House. In 1998, Reed Elsevier sold the children's divisions of Heinemann, Methuen, Hamlyn and Mammoth to the Egmont Group.
In February 2007, the company announced its intention to sell Harcourt, its educational publishing division. 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. In July 2007, Reed Elsevier announced its agreement to sell the remaining Harcourt Education business, including international imprint Heinemann, to Houghton Mifflin for $4 billion in cash and stock.
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.
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.
Variety, the company's last remaining North American title, was sold in October 2012.
In 2014, Reed Business Information sold BuyerZone, an online marketplace; emedia, an American provider of research for IT buyers and vendors; and a majority stake in Reed Construction Data, a provider of construction data.
In 2016, RELX sold Elsevier Weekly and BeleggersBelangen in the Netherlands.
In 2017 the company sold New Scientist magazine.
In August 2019, Flight International and FlightGlobal were sold to DVV Media Group.
In December 2019, RBI announced plans to sell the Farmers Weekly magazine title, website and related platforms, events and awards to MA Agriculture Limited, part of the Mark Allen Group.

Operations and market segments

Scientific, Technical & Medical

RELX's Scientific, Technical & Medical business provides information, analytics and tools that help investors make decisions that improve scientific and healthcare outcomes. It operates under the name of Elsevier:
ScienceDirect, an online database of primary research, contains 13 million documents.
Scopus is a bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles. It contains more than 50 million items in more 20,000 titles from 5,000 publishers worldwide.
Mendeley is a desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers, discovering research data and collaborating online.
Elsevier is the world's largest publisher of academic articles. It publishes 420,000 articles a year in about 2,500 journals. Its best-known titles are The Lancet and Cell. In 1995, Forbes magazine predicted Elsevier would be "the first victim of the internet" as it was disrupted and disintermediated by the World Wide Web.

Risk & Business Analytics

Risk & Business Analytics provides decision-making tools which help banks spot money launderers and insurance companies weed out fraudulent claims.
The business claims to have saved the state of Florida more than $60 million a year by preventing benefit fraud.

Accuity Inc.

Accuity provides financial crime compliance software which allows institutions to comply with sanctions and anti-money laundering compliance programmes. It offers KYC, online subscription-based data and software for the financial services industry. The company's services include helping banks and financial institutions screen for high risk customers and transactions, and providing databases such as Bankers Almanac which allows clients to find and validate bank payment routing data. Accuity serves financial services clients worldwide.


Cirium provides data and analytics products to the travel industry.


RELX's legal business operates under the LexisNexis brand. Many of LexisNexis' brands date back to the nineteenth century or earlier. These include Butterworths and Tolley in the UK and JurisClasseur in France.


RELX's exhibitions business is called Reed Exhibitions. It is the world's largest exhibitions company, running 500 shows for 140,000 exhibitors and 7m visitors.


, the board of directors consisted of:

Corporate strategy

From 2011 to 2014, the average annual value of disposals was about $300m. The predictability of the company's results in recent years has led to a re-rating of the shares.

Financial performance

RELX Combined200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Revenue 5,1664,5094,5845,3346,0716,0556,0026,1166,0355,7735,9716,8957,3557,4927,874
Adjusted operating profit 1,1421,0811,1371,3791,5701,5551,6261,7131,7491,7391,8222,1142,2842,3462,491
Adjusted EPS 31.5p33.6p35.9p44.6p45.9p43.4p46.7p50.1p54.0p56.3p60.5p72.2p81.0p84.7p93.0p
Adjusted EPS € 0.70€ 0.76€ 0.80€ 0.87€ 0.79€ 0.78€ 0.83€ 0.95€ 0.99€ 1.07€0.835€0.880€0.923€0.982€1.060

Social responsibility

The RELX Environmental Challenge awards grants to projects advancing access to safe water and sanitation.
The Elsevier Foundation supports libraries in developing countries, women scientists and nursing facilities. In 2016 it committed $1m a year, for 3 years, to programmes encouraging diversity in science, technology and medicine and promoting science research in developing countries.
Programmes operated by LexisNexis Legal & Professional include:
Programmes operated by LexisNexis Risk Solutions include:


Reed Elsevier has been criticised for the high prices of its journals and services, especially those published by Elsevier. It has also supported SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act, although it no longer supports the last. Because of this, members of the scientific community have boycotted Elsevier journals. In January 2012, the boycott gained an online pledge and petition initiated by mathematician and Fields medalist Sir Timothy Gowers. The movement has received support from noted science bloggers, such as biologist Jonathan Eisen. Between 2012 and November 2015, about 15,391 scientists signed The Cost of Knowledge boycott. In 2016, Elsevier received 1.5 million article submissions.

2019 UC system negotiations

On 28 February 2019 following long negotiations, the University of California announced it would be terminating all subscriptions with Elsevier.


As a data broker Reed Elsevier collected, used, and sold data on millions of consumers. In 2005, a security breach occurred through a recently purchased subsidiary, Seisint, which allowed identity thieves to steal the records of at least 316,000 people. The database contained names, current and prior addresses, dates of birth, drivers license numbers and Social Security numbers, among other data obtained from credit reporting agencies and other sources. In 2008 the company settled an action taken against it by the Federal Trade Commission for multiple failures of security practice in how the data was stored and protected. The settlement required Reed Elsevier and Seisint to establish and maintain a comprehensive security program to protect nonpublic personal information.

Defence exhibitions

Between 2005 and 2007, 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, Tom Stafford of Sheffield University and Nick Gill, launched petitions calling for it to stop organising arms fairs. 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. 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. Subsequently, in June the company announced that they would be exiting the defence exhibition business during the second half of the year.

Collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

In November 2019, legal scholars and human rights activists called on RELX to cease work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because their product LexisNexis directly contributes to the deportation of illegal immigrants.