3i frontrunner for VNU’s Malmberg

The Dutch publisher has confirmed exclusive negotiations with 3i on the future of Malmberg, its education division.

Following a press leak in the Netherlands yesterday, Dutch publisher VNU has confirmed it is engaged in exclusive negotiations with 3i to sell Malmberg, its education business.

Analysts estimate that selling Malmberg is expected to make VNU between E200m and E250m, according to the Financial Times.

The negotations are likely to continue for several weeks. No formal agreement has been signed.

3i is thought to have won exclusivity following an auction that featured several potential trade and financial purchasers for the business.

The disposal is part of a larger effort at VNU to compensate for expenditures incurred by its acquisition of AC Nielsen, the US market research company. VNU spent $2.3bn on AC Nielsen in December 2000.

VNU is also looking to sell its consumer magazine title, hoping to raise a further E1.5bn-E2bn.