Apax and OMERS to buy Thomson division for $8bn

The Thomson Corporation has agreed to sell the higher education assets from its Thomson Learning division to Apax and OMERS for $7.75 billion. The transaction includes Canadian educational materials provider Nelson Canada, in which OMERS will have majority ownership.

Global private equity firm Apax Partners has teamed with OMERS Capital Partners, the investment and management division of Canadian pension fund Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, to purchase Thomson Learning’s higher education assets for $7.75 billion (€5.7 billion) in cash.

Funds advised by Apax and OMERS will acquire the  division’s higher education, careers and library reference assets which include brands such as Wadsworth, Delmar Learning, Gale, and Heinle. Under terms of the agreement, Nelson Canada, a Canadian provider of educational books and online resources, will be majority-owned by OMERS.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets are financial advisors to Thomson on the sale, while Evercore Partners and Atlas Advisors are acting as financial advisors to Apax and OMERS. Financing for the deal is being provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland, JPMorgan, Citigroup, UBS and The Royal Bank of Canada.

OMERS Capital makes direct investments as well as invests in funds including those managed by Apax.

Both Apax and OMERS have been investing in the media and publishing industries: In December, OMERS agreed to purchase newswire CCN Matthews for an undisclosed amount, while Apax’s most recent acquisition in the sector took place in March, when it agreed to buy a 49.9 stake in Trader Media Group from the Guardian Media Group for £1.35 billion.