Apax Partners leads race for Emap's business titles

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At least seven bidders lodged offers for the different parts of Emap by yesterday's bid deadline.

Suitors of the publishing and radio group expect to find out by as soon as this week who has won the separate parts of the company, which announced a strategic review of its business four months ago. Emap hopes to generate up to 2.5bn in proceeds from the process.

The group's bankers at Citigroup and Lazard are auctioning it in three pieces: the business-to-business publishing arm, the consumer magazine unit, and the radio business.

The most valuable part of the company, its business-to-business publishing group, is expected to fetch about 1.3bn. It attracted final bids from at least three consortia of mega buyout firms: Apax Partners and Guardian Media Group, Providence and Permira, and Cinven and Candover.

For the consumer unit, publisher of titles including Grazia and Heat and valued at about 700m, American publishing giant Hearst made a joint offer with UK private equity group Exponent. It is understood that Quadrangle, the private equity firm, pulled out of the final stage.

Global Radio, the buyout group run by the former ITV chief Charles Allen, submitted an offer for the radio unit, owner of the Kiss FM and Magic stations. Private equity groups Veronis Suhler Stevenson and Vitruvian are also thought to have made a final joint offer. Emap hopes to pocket at least 450m from the unit.

TPG Capital and DLJ Merchant banking, meanwhile, tabled a joint bid for the consumer magazine and radio businesses.