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Electra completes OAG Worldwide MBI

Reed Elsevier has sold its flight guide business to Electra, the European buyout house, for an undisclosed sum.

Electra Partners Europe, the European buyout firm, has completed the management buyin of OAG Worldwide for an undisclosed sum. The transaction is a straight equity financing backed by funds advised by Electra.

OAG, which was sold by Reed Elsevier Plc, is a publishing and distribution business supplying schedule information to the travel industry. It is best known for its flight guides.

For the year ended 31 December 2000, OAG turned over $106m. The company, which operates in the UK, USA, Germany, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, has 650 staff, most of whom are based in the US and Britain.

The MBI is led by Les Higgins, CEO, who previously acted as COO at Harper Collins Publishers UK. Eddie Bell, a former colleague of Higgins at Harper Collins, will be chairman.

The management team was advised by Paul Zisman, partner at Europa Partners, a UK corporate finance boutique. Legal adviser was Ashurst Morris Crisp, financial due diligence was provided by Ernst & Young.

Charles St. John, who led the deal for Electra, said: “OAG is a strong brand with a unique market position, but needs to respond to the changing face of the market. It will benefit from a management team with proven expertise in developing new competitive products, as well as revitalising long-standing ones.”