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12 Bids for Variety’s parent, Reed; Sale Expected in 3 Months

Variety’s parent company, Reed Business Information, has received 12 offers for the division of trade papers, believed to be valued at about $2 to $2.5 billion, the London Telegraph reports today.

The bidders reportedly include McGraw Hill, the U.S. publisher, but as expected come largely from private equity buy-out firms including Advent, Quadrangle, a joint bid by TPG and DLJ Merchant Banking, the private equity arm of Credit Suisse, and another group bid by Cinven and Candover, the latter being advised by Goldman Sachs, according to the article.

Notable is that the owner of The Hollywood Reporter, the Nielsen Company, is cited as having "shown interest." What is unclear from the article is whether all 12 of these bids are for the entire division, a pricey bet in print at a time when print is considered a dying business, or merely for chunks of it. A deal is expected within the next few months. 

In a related topic, the sale of The Hollywood Reporter, a former employee at Nielsen from New York writes in anger that the company’s official denial of a sale are belied by its actions in-house:

If Nielsen is not selling NBM, how come in the last year they have given up 3 floors (to AOL) in their NYC office and packed their remaining employees on to the 4 floors they have left. Laid off their entire finance, billing and IT departments and outsourced them to India. In my time at Nielsen, department groups/brands had cutbacks that made day to day job functions difficult. The Fed Ex privileges were taken away from the sales reps and we were directed to ask our clients for their Fed Ex acct numbers, should they need something in a hurry. The ordering of supplies had been extremely cut back as well. Employees are left to raiding the desks of former colleagues who have left or been laid off. My final question is, if Nielsen has no intention of selling NBM how come they have cut circulation, issues published, magazine size, paper stock and employee head count on all of its brands?