So some reality check coming into the sale process of Reed Business Information, the business publishing arm of Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK) . We have learned that Apax, initially thought of as being one of the main contenders to buy the RBI worldwide division as a whole, is now sitting out of it. It was never very clear how serious Apax was in the first place, but we do know Reed's management tried to do a sweetheart deal with Apax before it went for a general bidding, with the current management in place, and it did not work out. UBS is running the sale process, but the official book for the company is not yet out (expected as soon as next week, after some delays).
We have also learned that Reed Elsevier has changed its mind on how to sell it. Initially it did not want to sell off various pieces separately, but now at least the U.S. part, RBI-US, will be sold off separately, and multiple parties are aligning their arrows for when the process starts. The potential buyers include some of the usual suspects on the PE side. The price for the U.S. piece, which includes about 80 magazines and online sites, is expected to be in the $500 million range, though as the market moves into a further recession, that price could come down.
Not clear: If the European part, which is bigger than U.S., will be broken up into pieces country-wise or sold off together. More as we find out.
By Rafat Ali