Cinven in talks to buy Vivendi's trade titles
LONDON - French media giant Vivendi Universal is in exclusive talks with Cinven, investment firm and former owner of IPC, which could lead to the sale of its business and medical titles for 2bn (£1.3bn).
The 2bn price tag is twice the amount the publisher takes in annual sales. Vivendi would receive a one-time gain of 800m (£503m) from the sale, which it wants to put towards its $2.2bn (£1.5bn) purchase of US textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin.
The two companies are believed to have signed a letter of intent and the sale is expected to be completed by the end of October, once due diligence has taken place.
The deal will give Cinven a raft of French-language specialist publications, including medical titles Staywell and Le Quotidien du Medecin. The purchase also includes UK title Property Week.
In a statement, Vivendi said, "Cinven's offer, which includes the health publications, is the most favourable. It's also the most coherent, as it allows Vivendi Universal Publishing's trade arm to continue as a standalone unit."
The agreement marks a new adventure in the publishing world for Cinven, having only sold IPC to AOL Time Warner's Time Inc for £1.15bn two months ago.
Vivendi announced it was selling its trade titles in June, when it successfully bid $2.2bn for Houghton Mifflin.
IPC's former parent Reed Elsevier also bid for the Vivendi titles, alongside Bertelsmann and VNU.
Vivendi now has to find a buyer for its classified advertising business Comareg, which is expected to fetch 400m (£251.5m).
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