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Another Big Info Industry Deal
Publishing conglomerate Reed-Elsevier announced yesterday that it had acquired privately-owned Seisint for three-quarters of a billion dollars in cash at a heady multiple of 6.5 times revenues. According to the Financial Times, “analysts said the deal was strategically clever but at a premium price”. Seisint will fold into Reed Elsevier’s LexisNexis group.
Seisint, projecting sales up 40% over last year to $115 million with an EBITDA of $45 million, is in the “risk management” business. That is, Seisint's major offering is Accurint, an online database that combs through huge amounts of public record and other data and isolates information on individuals and companies of interest. Think of it as a home security play first, and a data analysis specialist second.
Siesint’s clients use the company’s products for debt collection, due diligence, fraud detection, identity verification, law enforcement, legal investigations, pre-employment screening, resident screening and data supercomputing
Among other things, LexisNexis focuses on identity authentication, fraud prevention and credit and security risk products. So Seisint brings growth and data analysis to Reed Elsevier’s own massive databases. But it also exposes Reed Elsevier to the controversies surrounding the debate about the trade-off between personal privacy versus an increasingly security-consciousness society. Moving into that dabate is a big step indeed for a publishing company.
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