Maid, the online information company, said yesterday it was in talks to buy Knight-Ridder Information, a US business information provider which is four times its size in terms of revenues. Analysts said yesterday Maid was likely to pay between pounds 250m and pounds 350m. Michael Mander, Maid's chairman, said he was fairly confident the deal would take place, and the two companies were viewing it "philosophically" as a merger. Mr Mander said the purchase would be funded "more by debt than equity", and although a rights issue was unlikely, equity could be raised through a share placing. He indicated that Maid's Profound database could be subsumed by KR Information's Dialog product, which has developed a strong world-wide brand. Shares in Maid, which has a market value of around pounds 220m, closed down 2p at 235p. KR Information had revenues of $285m last year. The deal is likely to be concluded within weeks, MAID said.