UBM shares up on Apax interest

Apax Partners is lining up a €750m (£500m) offer for PR Newswire, the press release distribution unit of United Business Media (UBM), according to reports.

At the beginning of last week UBM shares were up 3.37% on speculation regarding private equity interest to 720.5p from 697p.

Although no discussions between the private equity firm and the publisher are understood to have taken place, it has been reported that Apax Partners has spent the past few weeks preparing a £500m bid.

According to analysts, PR Newswire is valued at between £560m and £620m. Apax Partners and UBM were not available for comment. New York-headquartered PR Newswire provides news distribution, targeting, measurement and broadcast services. UBM reported revenues of £69.1m for PR Newswire in the six months to 30 June 2006, an increase of 6.2% and operating profit increase of 24.2% to £20.6m.

In October, PR Newswire strengthened its position in the US policy market with the US$19m acquisition of US Newswire from Medialink Worldwide, with a deferred consideration of up to US$4m payable over the next year. US Newswire distributes press releases for the policy sector including government, public affairs and non-profit organisation news sources.

Apax Partners’ previous investments in the media sector include Dutch publisher PCM Uitgevers, a US$865m acquisition in June 2004; VNU World Directories, bought alongside Cinven for US$2.5bn in September 2004; and UK directories businessYell Group, a 2001 purchase. In September of this year, Apax and partner investors Cinven and The Carlyle Group sold MediMedia USA, a health information publisher formerly part of Vivendi Universal Publishing, for approximately $635m to US-based private equity firm Vestar Capital Partners.