Apax to take Incisive action

The private equity firm is planning a £20m debt for equity swap as it looks to retain control of UK publisher Incisive Media.

Apax Partners is planning to inject £20 million into UK-based trade publishing house Incisive Media in a bid to appease banks and retain its controlling stake.

The private equity firm is negotiating a deal with senior lenders, including Royal Bank of Scotland, which would eliminate half the company’s roughly £400 million in debt in exchange for a 46 percent equity stake. Under the agreement Apax’s existing stake would be reduced by from 59 percent to 52 percent.

Incisive, which produces business magazines including Hedge Funds Review and Global Pensions, breached its banking covenants in December and has been struggling due to a slump in its advertising revenue. It has been talking to its lenders for several months about a restructuring and to avoid redundancies, it asked its 1,800 employees to take a week's unpaid leave at the end of last year.

Apax acquired its interest in Incisive after it led a £275 million management buyout of business in 2006. Incisive has since made several acquisitions, including the purchase of US rival American Lawyer Media for $630 million in 2007. It debt has been increased by more than seven times the amount it carried prior to the Apax takeover.

Earlier this week Ingenious Media, a member of the syndicate which backed Incisive, wrote down its £10 million investment in the company to zero, according a report in The Telegraph.

Apax declined to comment and Incisive was unavailable at press time.