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Apax in lead for Emap B2B division

LONDON - Private equity firm Apax has been tipped as favourite to acquire Emap's business-to-business publishing arm, as the media group prepares to accept second round offers for its three divisions today.

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Apax is bidding with Guardian Media Group, and is up against two other private equity teams: Candover and Cinven; and Providence and Permira.

Emap said if it sells off its other two divisions, consumer magazines and radio, it would prefer bidders for its business-to-business wing, the group's largest division, to acquire the parent company.

But the value of its B2B arm, which is estimated at around £1.3bn, may be reduced if the group's corporate entity is included in the sale, as bidders warned they face increased costs of up to £100m if they take on the responsibilities of the entire Emap plc.

The new owners of Emap plc would be liable for any unforeseen costs to the two former divisions, such as tax bills and guarantees on leases.

Emap's B2B titles include Broadcast, Nursing Times, Draper's Record and Screen International.

Its consumer magazine division, which includes FHM and Grazia, is valued at £600-£700m and its broadcasting assets, including Magic and Kiss FM, are expected to fetch around £400m.

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