LONDON - Beano and Dandy publisher DC Thompson is leading the race to buy Puzzler Media, which is behind more than 40 puzzle titles and is expected to sell for around £85m, buoyed by the Sudoku craze.
Puzzler Media was put up for sale in the summer, with speculation that it could attract offers of as much as £100m.
Emap, Future and IPC Media had all been tipped to make bids for the specialist publisher, which has been put up for sale by private equity company ABN Amro. However, DC Thomson, which is based in Dundee, outbid its southern rivals.
As well as The Beano, the firm is also behind regional newspaper The Courier for Central and Eastern Scotland, The Evening Telegraph and The Sunday Post.
Puzzler, which claims it accounts for more than 50% of the puzzle book market and owns puzzle titles including 30-year-old title The Puzzler, which has a circulation of 131,511.
Most recently, the company has benefited from the demand for Sudoku puzzles, which it supplies from a Japanese partner.
As well as publishing its own titles, Puzzle Media supplies puzzles to IPC, from which it has licensed magazine brands including Chat as puzzle titles, and News International, the owner of The Times and The Sun.
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