Exponent and Barclays eye Trinity Mirror(3)

UK newspaper company Trinity Mirror has reportedly entered exclusive negotiations for the sale of its Midlands titles to Exponent Private Equity and Barclays Private Equity.

A buyout consortium that includes Exponent Private Equity and Barclays Private Equity is preparing to back the management buyout of the Midlands titles of Trinity Mirror. The sale of the titles, which include The Birmingham Post and The Coventry Telegraph, would be worth about £190 million (€281 million, $382 million), according to the Mail on Sunday.

Exponent is an experienced investor in the media sector. The London-based firm bought TSL Education, which publishes the UK Times Educational Supplement, from News International in October 2005 for about £235 million and sold it to Charterhouse Capital Partners in May.

Trinity Mirror is selling other assets too. It is soon to sell The Racing Post to Dublin-based investment firm FL Partners for about £190 million while the sale of regional businesses in the Midlands, London and the south east is expected to be completed by September.

Exponent was created when it spun out of London-listed private equity firm 3i in 2004 and is currently investing its debut £400 million fund.

Barclays Private Equity is currently investing the €1.65 billion Barclays Private Equity European Fund II which closed in February 2005.