Bloomberg, private equity firms circle Mergermarket – sources

A sale could help the British publisher raise up to 360 million pounds ($584.23 million) based on 10 to 13 times EBITDA of 28 million pounds, the sources said.

Pearson put subscription-based Mergermarket on the block in July saying it no longer had a place in a group increasingly focused on education, digital services and emerging markets.

Information has been sent to over 50 potential bidders in total including 25 leverage buyout funds in what is seen as a highly competitve auction, the sources said.

Trade rival Bloomberg as well as Euromoney and McGraw Hill Financial, which lost to Pearson in a 2006 bid battle for Mergermarket, may be interested in the business, they said.

News and information company Thomson Reuters is not interested in the business, the sources said. Thomson Reuters declined to comment.

Private equity firms that could be interested in Mergermarket include Warburg Pincus, which has teamed up with the founder of Mergermarket, Caspar Hobbs, Blackstone, Advent, Exponent, HG capital, Charterhouse, and BC Partners.

Cinven looked at the asset but has decided not to proceed because they fear fierce competition could drive price up, one source said.

All of the parties involved either declined to comment or could not immediately be reached for comment.

Pearson is planning to draw up a short list of potential bidders within a month and reach agreement on a sale by the end of the year, one person said.

Pearson acquired Mergermarket, which includes dealReporter and Debtwire publications, for 101 million pounds ($160.13 million) just before the financial crisis.

JPMorgan Cazenove is advising Pearson on the sale.

Anjuli Davies and Sophie Sassard are reporters for Reuters News in London