I think I can hear librarians throughout the US breathing a collective sigh of relief:

Today began with the announcement of the acquisition of the Portfolio Media Law360 newsletters by LexisNexis and was followed by reassuring phone calls and communications from Law 360  to its customers.

The Lexis acquisition of Law360 is being described as a strategic acquisition, not a financial one. I assume this means that competitive advantages and not  revenue was the motivation for the deal. Law360 account representatives were reaching out to their customers today to assure them that there would be no immediate changes to Law360.
 The co-founders of Law360, Marius Maland and Magnus Hoglund remain in charge as Co-CEOs.
 The good news (at least for the short term)
• Law360 will remain an independent company
• There will be no staff changes
• Law360 will “own” the relationship with its existing customers
• Law360 subscriptions will not require a subscription to Lexis
• No changes in the look and feel of Law360

I  was also referred to a FAQ from Lexis – Law360  that  addresses various questions about the impact of the acquisition. After reading it closely I noted the tentative nature of most of the answers. There were repeated assurances that there would be no immediate impact, but what about longer term?

A closer reading of the Law360-Lexis Acquisition FAQ  discloses 3 separate references to “existing customers” implying that things may be different for future customers.

The Following Questions and Answers do invite some comment.

Q Would this acquisition make Law360 content exclusive to LexisNexis?

A. Law360 will continue to operate as a stand-alone company. However, as owner of Law360, LexisNexis will be the exclusive provider of Law360 content.

COMMENT: Not clear how they are defining “exclusive provider” or when this will have an impact.

Q. If I’m not currently a LexisNexis subscriber, will I still be able to keep and renew my Law360 subscription?

A. All existing agreements will remain in force.

COMMENT:  The answer only refers to existing agreements and not renewals. So check your contact to see if you have an automatic renewal. If you do not, you may be in for a surprise as renewal time. No direct answer regarding non-Lexis subscribers.

Q. Will LexisNexis honor existing Law360 contracts and obligations?

A. Yes. As a stand-alone entity, Law360 will continue to contract, fulfill, bill, and support its customers directly, and all existing agreements will remain in force.

COMMENT: Silence on the issue of renewals.

Q. Will I be able to log into Law360 through LexisNexis?

A. In the short term, you will continue to access Law360 as you do today. Over time, you will see linkages between Law360 and other LexisNexis products.

COMMENT: Not clear what this will mean. Linkages could mean anything from providing a sprinkling of links to complete absorption of Law360 into LexisNexis.I am glad the Lexis appears to be taking a retrained approach at least for the short term and is not absorbing Law360 completely or putting it behind a Lexis paywall.

The Good News for Law360

Law360 had begun to add cases and dockets to their newsletters. Clearly LexisNexis and Courlink are decades ahead of Law360 in mining and managing the flood of opinions, orders and dockets the flow from the courts. So Law360 will not have to invest in developing this type of enhancement. The Q&A suggests that they will be leveraging Lexis content and this could have a dramatic impact on the expansion and reshaping of Law360 content.
So What About ThomsonReuters?

Now that LexixNexis has ALM publications and Law360 and Bloomberg has BNA, one has to wonder what West has up it’s sleeve. Is it possible they will take a pass and let the two competitors dominate the legal news market? I think not. An AmLawDaily story today suggested that West is already developing a legal news product ThomsonReuters News & Insight which features content from Westlaw. This is such a low profile initiative, I never heard of it. But I discovered at the website, that Allison Frankel, veteran legal news writer and editor is writing for West. It is unlikely that a writer such asMs. Frankel would  make such a move if there were no compelling  market strategy to entice her.

Is This a Play for Marketing Market Share?

The FAQ refers to integration of Law360 with other LexisNexis products, I suspect they are not just talking about research content. Since ALM and Law360 products  both focus not only on caselaw, but  on law firm rankings, practice areas  and high profile lawyers, I can’t help but wonder it there isn’t a strategy involving marketing and business development products such as Interaction and Redwood Analytics in the future.

Related Posts: A Lexis-Law360 Deal? the Race for Content Continues.
Lexis Announces Acquisition of Law360