Hypothetical: Who Would be the Best Owner of LexisNexis?

Toby and I had a great lunch today where we discussed everything from the current state of the music touring business to what will happen when Mayor Mike goes back to his day job of running Bloomberg. One of the topics along the way to the Bloomberg end of things was if Reed Elsevier spun off LexisNexis, who would be the absolute strangest buyer we could think of that could actually invigorate the product and turn the legal research and publishing industry on its ear. The topic was an offshoot of Jason Wilson's post from yesterday on Should Reed Elsevier sell Lexis-Nexis? and from Robert McKay's The End of Legal Publishing on Wednesday. This is simply a hypothetical, we have no knowledge of anything going on behind the scenes at Lexis, so don't read too much into it.

Here are some of the ideas that popped into our heads (with some of the reasoning… or lack-thereof… behind it.

  • Bloomberg Law — mostly because it looks like they are making a run at Lexis' market share. Why not just plunk down the coin now and skip the battle altogether?
  • Associated Press — A news organization owning a legal information provider isn't new… maybe they can succeed where others have failed?
  • An E-Discovery Vendor — with all the advances in e-discovery tools, what could a Recommind do with all the content housed in those databases?
  • Google — For a company that would like to index all the world's information, this would be one piece of the pie they've only taken little bites of. Why not eat the whole thing?
  • Amazon — this is a company that has built a well run distribution service. Is this something that could be run in their cloud based services?
  • Apple — Not that we think that Apple wants this, but I could really see them selling caselaw for 99¢, or you could pay $9.99 for the entire volume
  • Microsoft — Somehow I'm envisioning a repeat of Encarta
  • IBM — Actually, I liked this idea (probably because I came up with it.) I would love to see IBM put a "Big Data Guru" like Jeff Jonas on a project to take all the data that LexisNexis has, and put it into one giant pot, stir it up, and start finding relationships in previously unrelated data. 
  • Yahoo! — Pretty much the same reasons as Google, but Yahoo! needs something to make it more competitive and profitable. 
I'm sure we named off a few more companies, but that's all I can remember now that my burger is kicking in and I'm a ready for an afternoon nap.
Any other suggestions for where a hypothetical LexisNexis sale should go??

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Jason said...


Anonymous said...

Fastcase, or let it go back to being Matthew Bender

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just checked and LexisNexis now has over 80 distinct products listed on their site. Ranging from research to practice area productivity tools as well as several products devoted to client and matter management. Lots of functionality cross-over still, especially in the practice management/billing product offerings.

I look for LexisNexis to continue breaking break away it's (more costly) overlapping products either individually or in groups. Similar to the way Applied Discovery was peeled off a few months ago.

LexisNexis recently announced a consolidation of their development centers from Illinois, Virginia and North Carolina to their existing facility in Cary, North Carolina. Though most development is now outsourced the "Product" and "Project" management positions remain internal, stateside.

Aderent Holdings (owned by Vista Equity Partners) has recently been on a buying spree. Chances are Aderent could use the LexisNexis software customer base and Bloomberg would value the research content/customer base.

Robert McKay said...

How about News Corporation, once they have sorted themselves out?

Anonymous said...

My vote is for Richard Branson, I like the sound of VirginLexis

Anonymous said...

what about ALM

Anonymous said...

I see a bifurcation of the risk and legal side with the risk fitting very well with IBM or HP or Pritzker or Experian or DNB or even Mcgraw Hill . For the legal side many if the names already mentioned works fine.


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