Buyout firms to bid for Dutch publisher Sdu

Four buyout firms are reported to have reached second round bids for government-owned Dutch publisher Sdu.

Candover and 3i, two buyout firms, ABN AMRO Capital, the buyout arm of the Dutch bank, and Allianz Capital Partners, the private equity unit of German insurer Allianz, are expected to make offers for Sdu, a Dutch publishing business.
 
UK daily newspaper The Independent has reported that the four private equity firms have reached the second round of the auction for Sdu, which is being privatised by the Dutch government and is expected to fetch up to €500 million ($643 million).
 
The report said that second round offers are due this Thursday for the 100 percent state-owned business. The Dutch government put Sdu up for sale in February, with first round bids submitted in July.
 
3i and Allianz Capital Partners declined to comment on the speculation regarding Sdu. ABN AMRO Capital said that it is participating in the auction for Sdu but declined to comment further. Candover was not available to comment.
 
After a protracted take-private process, earlier this year, AlpInvest Partners, The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Thomas H. Lee Partners bought VNU, a publishing and market information group, for €8.7 billion in May.
 
The take-private offer was first made in late 2005, but met with resistance from a number of minority investors, including activist shareholder Knight Vinke Asset Management and Fidelity Investments, before the two groups decided to tender their shares.
 
3i sold Malmberg, a Dutch education publisher, to SanomaWSOY Group for an enterprise value of €221.9 million in July 2004. The business was previously made up of L.C.G. Malmberg of the Netherlands and Uitgeverij Van In of Belgium, and was part of VNU Group until 2000 when 3i led a management buyout for an undisclosed sum.