Apax edges away from £1.25bn Reed bid

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The Independent Online

Apax has cooled its interest in the £1.25bn auction for Reed Business Information (RBI), the publisher. Rivals United Business Media and Informa have already indicated that they are not interested in the auction.

Although Apax has met UBS, the investment bank advising RBI parent Reed Elsevier, it is understood that the private equity giant wants to digest its recent £1bn purchase of Emap's business-to-business arm.

Apax bought Emap Communications in partnership with Guardian Media Group, and plans to merge the publisher with its Incisive business when the debt markets recover. Emap also announced last week that it had poached David Gilbertson from rival Informa to become chief executive.

A source said: "I don't think we'll go for it. Do we really want to divert our management team at the moment?"

The source added that Reed's profitable exhibitions business has not been included in the sale, which would have been the unit of greatest interest to Apax and Guardian Media Group.

There are also competition issues over several of the titles.