Information Holdings Inc. Business Information, Profile, and History
Stamford, Connecticut 06905
Information Holdings Inc. is a leading provider of information products and services to scientific, technical, medical, intellectual property, and IT learning markets. Through its Intellectual Property Group, which includes MicroPatent, Master Data Center, Liquent, IDRAC, and LPS Group, IHI provides a broad array of databases, information products, and complementary services for intellectual property and regulatory professionals. IHI is recognized as a leading provider of intellectual property information over the Internet. IHI's CRC Press business publishes professional and academic books, journals, newsletters, and electronic databases covering areas such as life sciences, environmental sciences, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, and business. IHI's Transcender unit is a leading online provider of IT certification test-preparation products. Its products include exam simulations for certifications from major hardware and software providers.
History of Information Holdings Inc.
Information Holdings Inc. (IHI) provides a wide range of information products and services, including reference works, journals and other subscription services, and electronic databases on CD-ROM and over the Internet. Its principal fields of activity include intellectual property management, especially patent and trademark information, and scientific, technical, and medical (STM) and professional publishing. Since beginning operations in 1997, the company has grown through acquisitions as well as internally. Its strategy for growth has been to acquire businesses in niche markets, increase revenue and profits organically through new product development, improve operating efficiencies, and attract and retain superior management.
Began Operations in 1997
Information Ventures L.L.C., the predecessor to Information Holdings Inc. (IHI), was formed in December 1996 as a limited liability corporation by Mason P. Slaine, a publishing entrepreneur and former president of Thomson Financial Services, and venture capital firm Warburg, Pincus Ventures, L.P. Slaine had been involved in several successful publishing ventures, starting in 1982 when he and other partners acquired Dealers' Digest, Inc., a financial publishing company, for $800,000. Four years later they sold it for $40 million. Slaine's second venture, Rand Data Services, Inc., was a financial information company that he founded in 1987 with an equity investment of $1.5 million. In 1988, it was merged into The Thomson Corporation's Securities Data Company, Inc., for which Slaine and his associates received $25 million over the next several years. Slaine followed that up with a successful turnaround at Chemical Week magazine, which he and a partner acquired for $9.5 million in 1988 and sold in three stages between 1991 and 1996 for $23 million. From 1994 to 1996, Slaine served as president of Thomson Financial Services, where he oversaw numerous acquisitions and increased the company's revenue from $407 million to $790 million.
It was undoubtedly Slaine's ability to create value in acquired publishing properties that enabled him to attract the financial backing of Warburg, Pincus for Information Ventures. With Slaine as its president and chief executive officer (CEO), the company acquired CRC Press from The Times Mirror Co. in January 1997 and began operations. CRC Press was a mid-sized scientific, technical, and medical (STM) and professional publisher. From its beginnings in Cleveland, Ohio, at the start of the 20th century as the Chemical Rubber Company, CRC Press became highly regarded in the STM field with the publication of such titles as The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, published annually since 1913. At the time it was acquired by Information Ventures, CRC Press was headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida.
Information Ventures completed two related acquisitions at the same time it acquired CRC Press. One was St. Lucie Press, a professional publisher, and Auerbach, a provider of technology-oriented print and electronic subscription-based products, which was acquired from The Thomson Corporation.
In July 1997, the company acquired MicroPatent, one of the largest commercial providers of patent information in the world and a leading source of intellectual property information products and services. MicroPatent was established in 1989 as a joint venture between British CD-ROM publisher Chadwyck-Healey Ltd. and microfilm patent publisher OPUS Publications Inc. of New Haven, Connecticut. Also located in New Haven, MicroPatent introduced its first CD-ROM with patent information at the end of 1989. For as little as $60, libraries could purchase data for 150,000 patents on one disc. In 1992, the company began creating Patent Technology Centers, the first of which opened in February 1992 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Depository Library in Science Park, New Haven. The MicroPatent Patent Technology Center was a computerized, CD-ROM-based system for researching information on U.S., European, and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patents. Companies could use the Patent Technology Center as a research tool to track competitive developments in their industry. MicroPatent hoped to provide such tools to all 73 U.S. Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries.
Other CD-ROM products developed by MicroPatent included Who Invented What, which was launched in 1993 and contained full-text abstracts of every patent issued in the United States during the previous year. The company also issued subject-oriented CD-ROMs, including Chemical PatentImages and BioTech PatentImages, both of which were offered as current subscriptions with monthly or biweekly updates and optional-purchase backfiles.
In 1994, MicroPatent offered Patent BBS, a free online service that provided information on new patents worldwide. It was the company's first online service offering. In 1995, the company introduced World Patent Alert, a series of 32 electronic newsletters that tracked emerging technology developments around the world and offered fully searchable information on U.S., European, and world patents up to one month before other online services. The 32 separate electronic newsletters were available monthly on diskette or over the Internet.
Before the end of 1995, MicroPatent's Patent Server was up and running on the Internet. It contained more than 1.5 million patent documents in image form and allowed users to do full-text searches of every patent issued in the United States during the previous two weeks. Users could also view, purchase, and receive copies of any patent issued since 1975. MicroPatent offered a range of additional services through Patent Server.
The company also introduced MarkSearch in 1995. It was a new research tool for U.S. trademarks and consisted of a six CD-ROM set available for $1,950 per year. It contained fully searchable text and images of every live trademark registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since 1884--more than 1.5 million trademarks in all. In 1996, MicroPatent published the Trademark Checker, a low-cost ($199) CD-ROM that contained the complete U.S. database of federal trademarks dating back to 1884. For an additional $699, customers could subscribe to monthly updates to Trademark Checker. By the end of 1996, MicroPatent made Trademark Checker available to subscribers over the Internet.
In 1997, MicroPatent began offering commercial patent information for free over the Internet at its patent web site, PatentWeb. The company provided free access to its Online Gazette, formerly priced at $600 per year, which contained summary information on each of the approximately 2,500 U.S. patents issued each week. MicroPatent anticipated that free access to its Online Gazette would increase demand for its PatentImages downloading business.
Company Reorganization and IPO: 1998
In 1998, Information Ventures reorganized from a limited liability corporation to a Delaware corporation for the purpose of going public. The new corporation, Information Holdings Inc. (IHI), assumed control of all of the assets of Information Ventures when it went public on August 7, 1998. The company's stock was traded on the New York Stock Exchange and offered at an initial price of $12 per share. Net proceeds of approximately $51 million were set aside for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions.
During 1998, IHI strengthened its position in the STM and professional markets by acquiring a line of engineering titles from Krause Communications, the McGee line of business titles, and a line of advanced mathematics titles from Addison Wesley Longman. IHI also replaced the senior management of CRC Press and implemented plans to increase CRC's frontlist of new titles and editions from 280 titles in 1998 to between 350 and 400 in 1999. Some of that increase was due to the acquisition of mathematics, statistics, and chemical titles of Chapman & Hall from Wolters Kluwer N.V. in August 1998. CRC also had a backlist of some 4,000 titles. By revising its operating procedures, CRC was able to reduce direct costs and improve overall gross margins from 65 percent in 1997 to 74 percent in 1998. For all of 1998, CRC contributed 83 percent of IHI's revenue, while MicroPatent contributed 17 percent.
For 1998, IHI reported revenue of $46.7 million, up from $34.9 million in 1997. Net income in 1998 was $4.8 million, compared to a net loss of $4.9 million in 1997. The improvement in net income was attributed primarily to increased gross profits of $11.6 million and increased interest income.
Strengthening the Intellectual Property Business: 1999
IHI's intellectual property business initially consisted of MicroPatent and its Internet- and CD-ROM-based patent information products. During 1999, MicroPatent released PatSearch FullText, an Internet-based resource that included full-text patent documentation for U.S., European, and world patents of the current year. MicroPatent also made its Special Collection of more than 25 million patent copies from more than 45 patent authorities worldwide available commercially.
In 1999, IHI made several acquisitions that strengthened its position in the intellectual property field. Optipat, Inc. and Faxpat, Inc., two companies that provided print and Internet-delivered patent information to the legal and corporate markets, were acquired in January and June, respectively. Master Data Center, Inc. was acquired in August. Founded in 1971, Master Data Center specialized in patent and trademark management, including portfolio management software and payment services. The next month IHI acquired the Corporate Intelligence business of Innovator Corp. and formed CorporateIntelligence .com, an Internet-focused business unit.
By the end of 1999, IHI's intellectual property business included patent information services offered through MicroPatent, Optipat, and Faxpat, and patent annuity services offered through Master Data Center. In addition, IHI was developing Trademark.com, which would enable full trademark searches to be performed over the Internet. The company was also developing an Internet-based patent licensing service that would provide a marketplace for patent holders and qualified buyers.
IHI's other principal business was scientific and technology information, consisting of CRC Press. CRC published two major groups of products, reference books and subscription services. In 1999, CRC published 404 new titles, compared to 282 in 1998, mainly in the areas of life sciences, hard sciences, environmental sciences, and information technology and business. CRC's subscription services included newsletters published by its Food Chemical News division, 17 journals in selected scientific areas, Auerbach products published for the information technology market, and electronic databases available through site licenses or on CD-ROM. CRC's electronic databases were focused on chemistry, food chemistry, information technology, and engineering and included chemical dictionaries as well as electronic versions of its major print products.
For all of 1999, IHI's intellectual property businesses contributed 30 percent of revenue, while its scientific and technology information businesses provided 70 percent of revenue. IHI reported revenue of $58.8 million for 1999, an increase of 26 percent. Net income was $6 million.
Introducing New Intellectual Property Services and Entering the IT Learning Market: 2000
New developments in IHI's intellectual property businesses in 2000 were primarily Internet-based initiatives. The company launched CI.com (CorporateIntelligence.com) to provide access to existing Internet services. In June, CI.com launched Trademark.com, a web-based database of trademark information. On Trademark.com users could search a comprehensive set of U.S. federal, state, and common law databases over the Internet. This marked the first time that information on more than 800,000 common law trademarks was available on the Web.
In the area of patent technology licensing services, IHI launched PATEX.com, an Internet exchange for licensing patents and technology that was operated jointly with BTG International Inc., a commercial technology provider. PATEX.com included both the Internet licensing of patent rights and a service that facilitated more complex licensing transactions. During 2000, PATEX.com was offered as a free service with more than 15,000 patents and technologies available for licensing. In 2001, PATEX.com began generating revenue through listing fees and transaction fees for licensing transactions that were completed through the service.
In November 2000, IHI entered the information technology (IT) learning market with the acquisition of Transcender Corporation for $60 million. The company was a leading provider of online IT certification products, including exam simulations for certifications from major hardware manufacturers and software publishers. Transcender's customer base consisted primarily of IT professionals seeking certification in various product areas and programming languages.
For 2000, IHI reported revenue of $73.3 million, an increase of 24.7 percent over 1999. IHI's intellectual property businesses accounted for 41 percent of revenue, while CRC Press contributed 53 percent. Transcender provided the remaining 6 percent of IHI's revenue in 2000. For the year net income rose to $7.1 million.
Numerous Acquisitions in 2001
IHI grew internally as well as through acquisitions in 2001. In February, it launched a full-service licensing and consulting division, LPS Group (Licensing Products and Services), as part of its intellectual property group. LPS offered a wide range of online and offline services, including portfolio mining, portfolio mapping, contingency patent licensing, and general IP consulting. It also included the PATEX.com licensing exchange and a new exchange, Patent Triage, for patents that were ready to be abandoned.
In March 2001, IHI announced two European-based acquisitions. One was GSI Office Management GMBH, a German-based provider of intellectual property management software, in which IHI took a 49 percent interest with an option to acquire the remaining 51 percent in three years. The other European-based acquisition involved the IDRAC business of IMS Health. Based in France, IDRAC was a leading provider of regulatory and intellectual property information to pharmaceutical companies worldwide. Founded in 1993, IDRAC developed and maintained an international regulatory affairs database for the pharmaceutical industry.
In May 2001, IHI announced it had added the U.K.-based publisher Parthenon Publishing Group Ltd. to its scientific and technical information group. Parthenon was acquired for $8 million and became part of CRC Press. Its publishing program was focused on medical and environmental reference works and included books, journals, and electronic products.
IHI's final acquisition in 2001, was Liquent Inc., a provider of electronic regulatory publishing solutions to the life sciences industries. Its flagship software product was CoreDossier. Liquent's software and services were used by 33 of the world's top 50 biopharmaceutical companies to assemble and publish regulatory reports and dossiers. IHI completed its tender offer for Liquent in December 2001, and in February 2002 Liquent and IDRAC combined their operations. The new organization was known as Liquent/IDRAC in Europe and as Liquent in the United States and elsewhere.
For 2001, IHI reported revenue of $105.3 million, an increase of 43.7 percent over 2000. Net income increased to $7.8 million. The company generated strong growth in 2001 and projected earnings in 2002 would double. It also enjoyed a strong financial position with more than $50 million in cash and investments and no debt. The company planned to grow internally as well as through further acquisitions.
Principal Subsidiaries: CorporateIntelligence.com; CRC Press LLC; GSI Office Management GMBH (Germany; 49%); IDRAC (France); Liquent, Inc.; Master Data Center Inc.; MicroPatent LLC; Parthenon Press (U.K.); Transcender LLC.
Principal Divisions: Intellectual Property Group; IT Learning; LPS Group; Scientific and Technical Information; Trademark.com.
Principal Competitors: Academic Press; Chemical Abstract Service (American Chemical Society); CCH Corsearch (unit of Wolters Kluwer, Netherlands); Computer Packages, Inc.; Derwent Information; European Patent Office; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; Thomson & Thomson.
- Key Dates:
- 1996: Information Ventures L.L.C. is formed in December by Mason P. Slaine and venture capital firm Warburg, Pincus Ventures, L.P.
- 1997: Information Ventures acquires CRC Press and MicroPatent.
- 1998: Information Holdings Inc. (IHI) is formed and takes ownership of all of Information Ventures' assets.
- 1999: IHI acquires Master Data Center and forms a new Internet-focused business unit, CorporateIntelligence .com.
- 2000: IHI launches its Trademark.com database.
- 2001: IHI makes numerous acquisitions, including IDRAC of Paris, GSI Office Management Gmbh in Germany, Parthenon Publishing Group Ltd. of the United Kingdom, and Liquent, Inc.
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