WORLD – Cinven and Apax are among the private equity groups believed to be in informal talks with Reed Elsevier about acquiring its £1bn-plus exhibitions division.
It is understood Apax is believed to be keen to merge the unit with Emap, which it acquired from Guardian Media Group for almost £1.3bn in 2007.
While the chief executive of Reed Elsevier, Erik Engstrom, insists there are no tabled plans to dispose of the company’s exhibition assets, there is clearly a great deal of interest in Reed’s exhibitions division from the private equity industry.
The Telegraph newspaper claims informal meetings took place between Reed Exhibitions’ chairman Mike Rusbridge and the private equity groups over the past six to 12 months.
At this stage talks are purely informal, and any decision to sell would have to be taken by Reed Elsevier.
According to one senior analyst, a break-up bid for the whole group would be worth significantly more than the group’s current market value of £6.5bn.
Reed shares rose last week following speculation of the potential break-up bid.