Cinven looks at EMAP

Speculation continues over the bidders for parts of media group Emap’s business following last weeks deadline for first round offers. Apparently Cinven has made bids for the group’s business-to-business and consumer magazine divisions. It is thought that Exponent has made a bid for the group’s specialist magazine titles, while Apax Partners has also shown interest in its business-to-business arm. The news follows speculation that Phil Riley, former chief executive of Chrysalis Radio, could make a £400m bid for Emap’s radio stations with private equity firm Vitruvian Partners.

However this week Hearst, the privately owned US newspaper and magazine publisher has made a £700m (€1bn) indicative offer for Emap’s consumer magazines division which publishes Grazia, Heat and FHM.The US group which counts titles such as Cosmopolitan and Esquire among its portfolio, owns the UK’s National Magazine Company (NatMags). More than a third of the profits from Hearst’s magazine division can be attributed to foreign markets currently, an increase from 10-12% five years ago according to company officials.

Last month Emap has sold its Australian magazine business, including Zoo, FHM and Australasian Dirt Bike, to ACP Magazines for A$94m (€54.8m).

Also last month it was reported that EMAP may offer to provide funds to potential bidders that could be struggling to raise finance as a result of the credit crunch. It was hoped that the move would encourage both trade and private equity bidders to join the auction and highlights the determination of Emap chairman Alan Cathcart to sell the businesses.