European private equity firm HgCapital is believed to have submitted a E75m bid for the FT Business, the business magazines publishing division of FT, owed by Pearson.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the firm is looking to lead a management buyout of FT Business, to be fronted by current managing director Nick Crenshaw. The offer, thought to be in the region of £75m is comparable with what FT Business chief executive Stephen Hill and Permira put on the table in April before their talks with Pearson brought down. Nobody at HgCapital was available for comment.
The emergence of a second private equity-backed offer will provide competition for a number of trade buyers who are also believed to be interested in acquiring FT Business. Emap, Incisive Media and Informa Group emerged as frontrunners for the firm alongside Daily Mail and General Trust.
Lazard, the investment bank running the auction for Pearson, is expected to respond to the offer within a week.
Hg Capital formed a specific media team at the beginning of January 2001. The team looks to target investments in media businesses in Western Europe with enterprise values of between E15m and E400m. FT Business falls well within this remit.
Investments by Hg's media team have included business publications firm Informa Group and the privatisation of HMSO, the government publications firm. It is led by Nick Martin.