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Saturday, 23 February 2008

Make that $2 billion for New Scientist

The news that Reed Elsevier is selling of a "job lot" of magazines, including New Scientist, has provoked extensive media coverage. Over on World Screen they suggest that "Possible buyers for the business, said to be worth about $2 billion, include Apax Partners."

One ABSW member has questioned the availability of venture capital funding. World Screen quotes the New York Times which quotes Reed Phillips, a managing partner of the media investment bank DeSilva & Phillips, as saying “The market is strong for business-to-business companies”.

As well as New Scientist, Reed's magazine business includes Variety along with many specialist titles including Multichannel News, Broadcasting & Cable, Video Business and Television Asia.

Apax specialises in management buyouts and is strong in media investments. The question is, who do they consider to be management? Will it be the bean counters of Reed Business Information? Or is there room for the editors and publishers who actually create the publications?

Among Apex's recent deals was the purchase last year of a 49.9% stake in Trader Media Group, which is in the business of "Print and online automotive classifieds". Apex's purchase, from Guardian Media Group, meant that Trader Media Group was worth £1.35 billion at the time of the deal.