Reed Elsevier has said that it intends to sell off its UK magazine
business, IPC, as a single unit, although analysts maintain Reed would
gain a higher price if it sold the different divisions separately.
In an internal letter to IPC employees, John Mellon, chairman of IPC and
board director of Reed Elsevier, said: ’It is Reed Elsevier’s intention
to offer IPC Magazines for sale as a whole, with the exception of New
Scientist.’ The special interest title will be retained because it fits
into the company’s scientific publishing portfolio.
Media owners including Hearst, Bertelsmann, United News & Media, Emap
and Gruner & Jaher are believed to have signalled their intention to put
forward bids, but venture capital groups are also said to be interested.
Senior sources at IPC indicate the company’s chief executive, Mike
Matthew, is also likely to put forward a management buyout bid with the
backing of a number of financial institutions. Matthew could not be
contacted to confirm this.
The sale of IPC, which owns more than 70 titles, was announced by Reed
Elsevier on Monday and is believed to have been brought forward
following speculation about Reed selling the group, which no longer fits
into its publishing portfolio.
SBC Warburg Dillon Read has been appointed to handle the sale, which
will be completed by the end of February 1998. City analysts put the
value of IPC at around pounds 750 million, dismissing suggestions that
the sale could reach as much as pounds 1billion.
It is understood that tax laws, which have dissuaded Reed from going
through with the sale until now, are likely to change in the
Chancellor’s next Budget.