Academic Publisher Elsevier May Pay $100M for Mendeley

RUMOR MILL: TechCrunch reports that Elsevier, the giant publishing umbrella for science, medical and tech research, is in "advanced talks" to fork out $100 million to acquire London-based Mendeley, a "free reference manager and academic social network." (See here for a layman's description of its features.) Mendeley was started in November 2007 and had $2 million from investors including Stefan Glänzer  (former chairman of Last.fm), Alex Zubillaga (former executive VP of Digital Strategy and Business Development for Warner Music Group)  and ASI, the investment vehicle of Skype’s former founding engineers.

The TC article mentions this move will bolster Elsevier's move toward "social, open education data." Those are some fine aspirations, particularly given that some of Elsevier's academic journals are notorious within academia for exorbitant prices. (Elsevier is a wholly owned company within the conglomerate, Reed-Elsevier,  which has a $13.2 billion market valuation.) Elsevier does  makes some of its journals available for free.

An August 2012 post on TC offers better context on Elsevier's and Mendeley's different approaches to offering access to metadata on papers and journals. Money quote: "Mendeley’s third-party app eco-system is fast approaching three times the size of Elseviers’."  Could be a fine explanation for why Elsevier might feel compelled to make such a hefty purchase.

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