UPDATED 14:02 EDT / JANUARY 29 2018

BIG DATA

In data-focused deal, Relx Group agrees to buy ThreatMetrix for $817M

Relx Group plc, a British analytics provider with annual revenues of about $10 billion, today announced plans to acquire California-based ThreatMetrix Inc. for £580 million ($817 million).

The deal is the company’s biggest in a decade. The size of the transaction reflects the importance of the assets that Relx stands to absorb.

ThreatMetrix sells fraud detection services supported by what it calls the Digital Identity Network, a platform that analyzes more than 100 million transactions a day across 35,000 websites. The company claims to have amassed a database of some 1.4 billion unique “online identities.”

ThreatMetrix’s vast information trove should enable Relx to enhance the capabilities of its own fraud detection services. More user data means a clearer view of online activity, particularly in cases when a scammer attempts to reuse tactics or devices across multiple different services.

Relx is also absorbing the technologies that ThreatMetrix has developed to harness the information from its network. One of the most notable tools in the latter firm’s arsenal is a “fingerprinting” system that can identify a device of interest without relying on cookies. Instead, ThreatMetrix takes advantage of the fact that the location, operating system and other characteristics of an endpoint often form a unique combination akin to a digital fingerprint.

Relx already offers the company’s device identification technology to customers thanks to a partnership that they’ve struck two years ago. The fact that the firms have already integrated their portfolios to a certain extent could make the acquisition go smoother, at least from a product standpoint. The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of this year.

This is one of several major data-focused acquisitions that have taken place in recent years. The biggest of the bunch was Microsoft Corp.’s $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn in 2016, which gave the technology giant access to detailed information about a significant chunk of the world’s working population. It’s currently working to put all this data to use.

Image: ThreatMetrix

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