Relx spends $480 million on latest fraud spotter, Emailage

LONDON (Reuters) - European information provider Relx Plc REL.L has agreed to buy U.S. company Emailage for around $480 million in its latest deal to boost the fraud detection capabilities of its fastest-growing division, a source close to the company said.

Once a traditional media publisher, Relx has transformed itself in recent years by selling off print titles and buying data sets and analytics tools to help professionals and business clients make decisions, including spotting fraud.

Emailage helps clients spot fraud by using partnerships, proprietary data and advanced machine learning technology to build customer profiles associated with email addresses.

It provides financial institutions, e-commerce companies, travel groups and other customers with fraud risk scores, spotting email addresses that have been involved in previous cases of fraud or raising a flag when new addresses appear.

The deal is Relx’s third largest acquisition in a decade and follows the announcement of the purchase last month of U.S.-based ID Analytics for $375 million.

Both will be integrated into Relx’s Risk & Business Analytics unit, its fastest-growing division whose largest business operates under the LexisNexis Risk Solutions brand. Both companies operate in the fraud and identify space, which is growing at double-digit percentages each year.

With a market value of 39 billion pounds ($51 billion), Relx sits in the top 15 of Britain’s largest listed companies, employing more than 30,000 employees around the world.

Relx confirmed it was buying Emailage in a statement but did not give any details on the price.

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker