Publishing and events business Emap is understood to have lined up corporate adviser Hawkpoint to sell its trade magazines business, which includes industry-leading titles Nursing Times and Broadcast.
Emap, which is owned by private equity group Apax and Guardian Media Group, met a number of advisers recently over a role to review the business, but Hawkpoint is chief executive Duncan Painter's preferred choice. It is believed that the sale of Emap Inform is the favoured option to reinvigorate the business, as trade titles and their award ceremonies have suffered badly during the downturn.
An industry source said the sale of Inform was likely to take place later this year, though other figures in the media sector struggled to see who would buy business-to-business magazines in the current environment.
Few think that Inform, which also owns award-winning magazines such as Retail Week and Construction News, would be able to fetch much more than £100m. This would be considered something of a disappointment given that Apax and GMG paid £1bn for Emap only four years ago. However, both companies have had to write-down the value of their investments since that deal was struck.
An advisory source said: "Hawkpoint is talking to Emap. They are considered to be the favourites."
If Emap did go through with the sale, it would still have a number of valuable assets, including a well-regarded exhibitions business.