Relx pays £580m for Silicon Valley firm in deal of the decade

Oliver Gill
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Over the last five years Relx has spent an average of £300m per annum on corporate transactions (Source: Getty)

Information and analytics giant Relx today announced its largest acquisition for 10 years, snapping up a US digital identify firm for £580m.

The FTSE 100 company, formerly known as Reed Elsevier, is buying Silicon Valley-based ThreatMatrix.

ThreatMatrix provides "digital identity verifications solutions", enabling financial institutions, e-commerce companies and media businesses to enable customers to identify returning customers. Its technology underpins many "card not present" transactions.

The deal, the biggest since Relx acquired ChoicePoint for $4.1bn (£2.9bn) in February 2008, sees ThreatMatrix become part of subsidiary LexisNexis Risk Solutions – the fastest growing business of Relx's £31bn market cap empire.

“ThreatMetrix is widely recognised as a leader in the digital identity space," said Relx risk and business analytics CEO Mark Kelsey.

"Bringing that together with our own strengths in physical identity attributes will give our clients across all forms of commerce and geographies a more reliable, comprehensive approach to fraud and identity risk management while maintaining the privacy and security principles our customers have come to expect. The acquisition is in line with our organic growth driven strategy, supported by acquisitions of targeted data sets and analytics that are natural additions to our existing business."

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ThreatMetrix’s digital identity network analyses over 100m transactions per day across 35,000 websites from 5,000 customers. This makes it one of the largest stores of online digital identities in the world, encompassing 1.4bn unique online identities from 4.5bn devices in 185 countries.

The transaction is subject to certain conditions and regulatory consent. It is expected to close during the first half of 2018.

Relx completed eight acquisitions for a total consideration of £123m during 2017 and disposed of 17 assets for a total of £87m. Over the last five years, the firm has spent an average of £300m per annum on corporate transactions.

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