PE Lines Up for Reed’s Magazine Assets

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bidding for the trade-magazines unit being sold by Anglo-Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier Plc/NV is moving into the second round, with a slew of private equity firms keen on the asset.

Reed put the unit, which includes the Variety, Farmers Weekly and New Scientist publications, on the block in February.

London's Daily Telegraph reported on Friday that up to 12 bidders submitted first-round offers for the business, valued at between 1 billion and 1.25 billion sterling ($1.9 billion to $2.3 billion).

Second round-bids are being sought in the coming weeks to whittle down the initial offers, with final bids likely in early October, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Sunday, confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal.

A number of private equity firms on both sides of the Atlantic are vying for the assets.

The list of names includes European private equity firms Candover together with Cinven Ltd; Texas-based TPG; Boston-based Bain; Providence Equity Partners; and U.S.-based private equity firm Quadrangle together with both Advent and U.S. publishing firm McGraw Hill, separate sources told Reuters. The companies either declined comment or couldn't be reached.

It would be a decent-sized deal for a private equity firm to buy amid a drought of opportunities. The credit crunch which hit a year ago closed the door for the financing of large leveraged buyouts and severely limited the ability for buyout firms to invest money.

Reed, which put the asset on the block to reduce its exposure to cyclical advertising spending, said recently there was a lot of interest in the unit.

By Megan Davies

(Additional reporting by Eleanor Wason in London)

(Editing by Kim Coghill)