Reed Elsevier to Cut 1,000 Jobs. Sell RBI Unit

Posted on February 25, 2008

Reed Business Information MagazinesThe Telegraph is reporting that Reed Elsevier plans to cut 1,000 jobs. Reed Elsevier publishes scientific, health and legal information - they own LexisNexis. They also publish a number of business-to-business titles under Reed Business Information including Variety, Broadcasting & Cable and Publisher Weekly. Reed Elsevier plans to sell this business unit leaving employees at the publications somewhat uncertain about their future. The Telegraph article says the job cuts will take place over the next couple of years.
The company, which owns the LexisNexis information service and the medical journal, The Lancet, is understood to be preparing to cut the jobs over the next couple of years as it centralises functions such as procurement, human resources and IT across the group. Analysts expect the job cuts - the majority of which will take place outside Britain - to contribute to a restructuring that will shed as much as �100m from Reed's annual costs bill. It is unclear whether the cuts will be acknowledged formally in its annual results announcement on Wednesday.

Reed, which is listed in London and Amsterdam, employs nearly 37,000 people around the world. The proposed job reductions are thought to be focused on functions that have previously operated separately across the disparate parts of Reed's empire, which includes units specialising in science and medical, legal, and business publishing, the last of which includes a large exhibitions division.

Sir Crispin Davis, Reed's chief executive, told analysts last July that the cost cuts would be "fairly spread" across the group and that the efficiency programme, dubbed "One Company", would continue for the next two to three years. He said at the time: "We've taken the low and mid-hanging fruit. It's why we put in [train] this programme and I think it's been very effective in identifying new areas. Over the last six months we've taken that a step further... with the objective of continuing to deliver meaningful cost reductions across the business."
This news follows the company's recent $4.1 billion purchase of ChoicePoint, a U.S. risk-management information business. It seems they just want to get out of the b2b print magazine business.