3i to buy VNU Business Media Europe for €320m

3i will buy VNU Business Media Europe from VNU, an information and media company, for €320 million, bringing the number of media businesses in the private equity company’s portfolio to eight.

3i, a European private equity company, will buy the majority of VNU Business Media Europe, a classified advertising and business-to-business magazines group, from information and media publisher VNU for €320 million ($421 million), according to a source close to the deal.

Accountancy Age: a Business Media Europe title

A private equity consortium made up of The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Thomas H. Lee Partners bought VNU for €8.7 billion in May.

Mark Redman, partner at 3i, said: “From a sector perspective we are interested in various classified advertising businesses, like Yellow Brick Road, for example.  It’s a space we know, a space we like and a space we have made money in.  Also, from a media perspective we felt we had a gap in our portfolio.”

He said that 3i has no immediate plans for Business Media Europe but that it is looking at a few opportunities.

Business Media Europe focuses on the recruitment, technology, business and finance sectors and has more than 70 print titles.

The acquisition will include Business Media Europe’s operations in the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain.  The proposed sale of Business Media Europe’s business in France is still under discussion. 

The sale is subject to approval and is expected to complete in February 2007.

LongAcre Partners and PriceWaterhouseCoopers are providing financial services to 3i while Allen & Overy are giving legal advice.

Goldman Sachs and the Van Tulleken Company, a publishing-focused advisory firm, are advising VNU.

On Friday 3i sold Precise Media Group, a media monitoring and evaluation business, to Phoenix Equity Partners for $62.6 million.

3i has €8 billion in funds under management and invests in mid-market businesses valued up to €1 billion.