Euromoney in talks with Disney

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The Independent Online
Euromoney Publications, the publisher and conference organiser, is in the final stages of negotiations to buy Institutional Investor, the US financial magazines group, just weeks after pulling out of the bidding auction after claiming the $200m (pounds 119m) asking price was too high.

Walt Disney, Institutional Investor's parent, asked Euromoney to resubmit its offer after a host of other bidders that included Pearson also quit the race to buy the company. It is understood that Euromoney has secured a time-restricted exclusivity agreement with Disney as it attempts to tie up its biggest purchase to date.

Disney had hoped to net up to $200m by selling the company, but is now believed to be prepared to let it go for around $150m. There are some reports in the US that Euromoney could get away with paying as little as $120m.

Sources at Euromoney said the acquisition could well be signed and sealed by the end of the week. If the deal goes ahead, it would expand Euromoney's revenues and personnel by around 50 per cent. The company would need to take on debt or launch a rights issue to finance the bid, and sources said both options were being considered.

Euromoney said, as it announced record results last month, that it was keen to acquire, adding that it had pounds 24m in cash and short-term deposits.

The company's acquisition strategy to date has focused on far smaller deals than Institutional Investor. Recently, Euromoney bought a 40 per cent interest in Mondiale Corp, a UK publishing company specialising in the business-to-business international office products market for a maximum pounds 4.5m.

Institutional Investor, which publishes a magazine of the same name as well as newsletters, also organises business seminars and conferences and is a direct competitor to Euromoney.

Euromoney, which is controlled by the Daily Mail & General Trust, announced at the end of May that it had increased half-year underlying pre-tax profits by 21 per cent to pounds 12.1m.