Reed Elsevier Plc will stop hosting defense exhibitions because it's no longer compatible with the owner of the LexisNexis database's focus on publishing scientific, medical, legal and business content.
Reed Elsevier's global business division puts on five defense exhibitions, which represent about 0.5 percent of annual sales, the London-based company said today.
Medical, science and health-care professionals, including academic customers, authors and doctors who submit papers to Reed Elsevier's journals, were concerned about the company's involvement in defense exhibitions, Spokesman Patrick Kerr said in an interview. The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust sold its 2 million-pound ($4 million) stake in Reed Elsevier in February because of the company's involvement in arms fairs.
``We have listened closely to these concerns and this has led us to conclude that the defense shows are no longer compatible with Reed Elsevier's position as a leading publisher of scientific, medical, legal and business content,'' Reed Elsevier Chief Executive Officer Crispin Davis said in a statement. Reed plans to complete its withdrawal in the second half of 2007.
The shares rose 7 pence, or 1 percent, to 689.5 pence in London, their highest since May 2002. The shares have gained 23 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 8.82 billion pounds.
The Lancet medical journal, a Reed Elsevier publication that had criticized the company's involvement in the defense industry, said it ``warmly welcomes'' the statement.
``As health professionals and scientists ourselves, it is important that we are seen to be trusted partners of the health and medical communities,'' the Lancet said today in an editorial on its Web site. ``The decision by Reed Elsevier to withdraw from military exhibitions will help us to build strong partnerships, which are so essential to our future.''
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