Firms Look To Bid $2B-Plus For Reed Elsevier Unit

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The first round of bids for Reed Elsevier’s Reed Business Information unit is expected to range from $2 billion to $2.5 billion and are due August 11, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Most of the potential bidders for the trade magazine unit, whose titles include Variety and New Scientist, are expected to be buyout firms, the sources said.

The company has not yet decided whether it will sell the unit as a whole or split it up on a geographic basis, the sources said. Reed Elsevier declined immediate comment.

One of the sources familiar with the situation said Reed Elsevier, which is selling the unit in an effort to pull out of advertising-dependent media, might offer a loan to the successful bidder, but a final decision on that had not been made yet. The auction is being handled by investment bank UBS out of London, but the bulk of interest is expected from U.S. private equity firms.

Reed Business Information is the largest business-to-business publisher in North America, with 2,500 employees and 80 magazines. Business-to-business publishers produce trade publications aimed at a business audience, rather than consumers.

Bain Capital, a private equity firm whose media investments include Clear Channel Communications and the recent purchase of Weather Channel in partnership with NBC Universal and Blackstone Group, is one of the parties interested in bidding, the sources said.

A representative for Bain Capital declined comment.