a media industry resource

Reed-Elsevier Group: landmarks


This chronology is indicative only. It covers -

  • antecedents (1880)
  • beginnings
  • merger (1993)
  • sells newspaper interests
  • Harcourt acquisition (2001)

Context is provided by the broader communications and media timeline on this site.


1880 Jacobus George Robbers starts Rotterdam publishing company NV Uitgeversmaatschappij Elsevier

1894 Albert Reed establishes UK newsprint mill

1903 Albert Reed & Co becomes public company

1931 Elsevier begins international scientific publishing ventures

1937 Elsevier was established in New York

1946 Excerpta Medica founded

1947 Harmsworths float Daily Mirror

1951 Elsevier Press Inc. started in Houston

1954 Reed begins manufacture of building products

1955 Reed begins paper production in New Zealand

1960 Excerpta Medica launches EMBASE online database

1960 Reed buys Daily Mirror's Anglo-Canadian pulp mill at Quebec

1961 International Publishing Corporation (IPC) buys Odhams printing and publishing for £38m

1962 US Elsevier Publishing Company founded

1962 UK Elsevier Publishing Company founded

1963 Reed buys Spicers paper

1965 Reed buys Crown and Sanderson wallpaper and DIY decorating interests

1966 Reed Consolidated Industries Ltd formed in Australia to consolidate group's interests in Australia and New Zealand

1968 International Printing Corporation (IPC) buys ailing tabloid Daily Mirror

1969 IPC sells UK tabloid The Sun to Murdoch

1970 Reed renamed Reed International Limited

1970 Reed buys IPC-Mirror Group newspaper and significant magazine, periodical and book publishing and printing interests, including Odhams, George Newnes, National Trade Press, Pearsons, Collinridge, Amalgamated Press, Kellys, Thomas Skinner, Iliffe & Son, Hulton Press, Butterworths and 29.2% interest in Cahners Publishing

1971 merger of Elsevier Publishing Company NV, North Holland Publishing Company and Excerpta Media to form Associated Scientific Publishers

1972 Reed Paper Limited formed in Canada to consolidate Reed's interests in North America

1972 MEPC-Reed Properties formed

1974 Reed's publishing activities separated into Mirror Group Newspapers and IPC

1977 Reed takes stake in Cahners to 100%

1979 Elsevier Publishing Company renamed Elsevier Scientific Publishers after merger with Nederlandse Dagbladunie

1979 Reed sells 49% holding in MEPC/Reed Properties Limited

1981 Butterworths buys Focal Press

1981 Reed buys Berrows from News

1984 Reed sells Odhams Printers to Robert Maxwell

1984 IPC's Mirror Group newspapers sold to Robert Maxwell

1984 Reed buys International Exhibition Services Group

1985 Reed buys R R Bowker and Online Computer Systems

1986 Reed buys stake in Direct Broadcasting Limited

1987 Reed buys Octopus Publishing Group, Variety Magazine, Malayan Law Journals and K G Saur

1988 buys Communications Today, Big Farm Weekly, PC Magazine and Asian Plastics News

1988 buys Rigby International and D W Thorpe

1988 buys Moving into Maths, Macgregor Trade Show, Australia Interfama Trade Fairs, Singapore Printing News, Media International, Industrial Marketing Digest

1989 buys Mardev, Midem exhibitions, Printing Views, Chemical Insight, Mac Magazines, Electronic-Business Asia

1989 buys Independent Television Publications for £113m

1990 buys Estates Gazette for £59.4m

1990 buys Pollution Engineering, Library Association Publishing, Industrial Seminars Group exhibitions, AGIFA exhibitions, Promex - JEDIFA exhibitions, Tower Publishing Company

1990 converts 20.9% interest in British Satellite Broadcasting to 10.45% interest in Murdoch-controlled British Sky Broadcasting (BSB)

1990 buys Martindale Hubbell and Verlag A Franke

1991 Pearson sells 22% Elsevier stake for £313m; Elsevier sells 8% stake in Pearson

1991 buys Pergamon Press and Maxwell Directories from Maxwell for £440m, sells Broadcasting, Travel Weekly and 49% of Sepel-Com exhibitions

1991 buys medical publisher The Lancet and Rigby Education

1991 buys 29% of Sinclair-Stevenson; remainder bought in 1992

1992 buys Parker & Son and subsidiary Parker Griffin publishing, Messe Salzburg exhibitions, Digital News & Review, Kemps International Film and Television Year Book, Equity Publishing and Escrutivo Legislatura


1993 Elsevier and Reed International merge

1993 buys Digital Press, Maxwell's Official Airline Guides for £275m, Editions Techniques for £76m and 40% of Giuffre for £30m

1993 sells BSB stake

1994 buys database giant LEXIS-NEXIS and Moving Pictures International

1994 buys five titles, including The Field and Shooting Times, from DMG

Sells newspaper interests

1995 sells Reed Regional Newspapers in £210 million MBO backed by KKR - papers are renamed Newsquest Media Group and later acquired by Gannett

1995 sells Nederlandse Dagbladunie consumer magazines to VNU, Brabants Nieuwsblad and Cahners Consumer Magazines

1995 sells Autovisie, Man, Oor, Elegance, Hitkrant and Residence magazines to De Telegraaf

1996 buys 50% of Shepards £105m

1996 buys Tolley Publishing from United News & Media for £100m

1997 buys Thomson's legal publications and Colofon Group

1997 buys Chilton Business Group (39 trade magazines) from Disney for US$447 m

1997 buys MDL Information Systems for $320 m

1997 sells Trade division of Reed Consumer Books for for £17 million to Random, Folio Corporation and ELT division of Reed Educational

1998 buys Matthew Bender & rest of Shepard's for US$1.65 billion

1998 buys Engineering Information, Inc

1998 abandons proposed merger with Wolters Kluwer

1998 completes disposal of consumer publishing interests, including IPC Magazines to an MBO for £860m (subsequently acquired by AOL Time Warner for £1.15bn), Reed Children's Books and Reed Illustrated Books

2000 buys Miller Freeman Europe from United for £360m

2000 buys CMD magazines, Endeavor Information Systems and eLogic

2000 sells KG Saur

2000 sells nursing publisher Springhouse to Kluwer

Harcourt acquisition

2001 buys Harcourt General

2001 sells Official Airlines Guide, Worldwide Cahners Travel Group, Bowkers

2001 sells Harcourt's Higher Education and certain Corporate and Professional Services businesses to Thomson for US$2.06 billion

2001 buys Classroom Connect, Inc

2004 buys Saxon Publishers

2004 buys BioLink Communications

2004 buys database specialist Seisint for US$745m

2005 buys medical information business MediMedia for US$270m

2006 Reed Elsevier pays est US$40m for medical site Gold Standard