B2B. The UK-based global defence information service Jane’s has been put up for sale by IHS Markit. The business, formerly known as Jane’s Information Group, is believed to have revenues of £50-60m derived mainly from database subscriptions and consulting, although the company may still be best known for Jane’s Defence Weekly and the Jane’s Fighting Ships annual analysis of the world’s 165 navies.
Jane’s was founded 121 years ago by Fred Jane who had begun sketching ships as an enthusiast naval artist while living in the UK port of Portsmouth. His hobby developed into the 1898 publication of “All The World’s Fighting Ships” before diversifying into other military books and magazines. Jane was reputedly also involved in pre-war British intelligence services.
In 2007, Jane’s Information Group was acquired by IHS Inc from the Thomson Corporation, of Canada. It paid $183m to bring together the two companies as “global operators with long-standing customer relationships in aerospace, defense and government.”
That was before the 2016 merger which created the IHS Markit data-tech group with revenues of $4bn and EBITDA of $1.6bn.
What the company describes as its Aerospace, Defence & Security division has seen growth, including through Jane’s Military & Security Assessment Intelligence Centre and Jane’s Terrorism & Insurgency Centre. But it is an insignificant part of the $25bn IHS Markit which is dominated by energy, automotive, and financial services.
At a time of increasing global spending on defence and security intelligence, Jane’s might be expected to be acquired by private equity.