Buyers line up for Kluwer division

The Dutch business information publisher has drawn up a shortlist comprising both trade and private equity buyers for its academic publishing arm.

Wolters Kluwer, the Dutch business information publisher, has selected several private equity and trade buyers for a final round of bidding for Kluwer Academic Publishers (KAP), the company’s scientific journal publication division.

Financial buyers including Cinven, Apax Partners and a number of unspecified large US buyout funds, all of whom have expressed an interest in the division, alongside offers from US publishers Taylor & Francis and John Wiley and Anglo-Dutch company Reed Elsevier.

The sale, which is being co-ordinated by Goldman Sachs, could value the division at between E500m and E600m. Kluwer Academic Publishers reported turnover last year of E150m.

Wolters Kluwer is also trying to sell its Dutch trade publisher, Ten Hagen & Stem, and several smaller 'non-core' interests, which currently account for under ten per cent of group sales.

The Financial Times reports that the KAP auction has attracted many of the same companies that are preparing offers for the academic publishing units of Germany's Bertelsmann Springer and Blackwells in the UK.

Wolters Kluwer expects to complete the KAP sale by the close of 2002.