EQT, a Swedish private equity group, is the favourite to win a €500m (£425m) stake in Springer Science and Business Media, a German publishing house.
Final bids were due on Friday, and a source close to the auction said that EQT, which has funds invested in 70 companies across Europe, had edged ahead of its rivals. Other bidders were thought to include Apax Partners, which owns media groups Informa and Emap, and a consortium comprising Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners. The winning bidder is expected to take a 49 per cent stake in Springer, which is co-owned by Candover and Cinven. The company has struggled under a debt pile estimated at more than €3bn. Turnover last year was €880m, up from €833m in 2007. Springer has more than 5,000 employees in nearly 20 countries.
In other media news, Yell, the Yellow Pages publisher, confirmed last week that it might need to renegotiate terms on its debt for a second time, having reset covenants in September.
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