Hicks Muse to pursue Emap arm?

Reports suggest this morning that the private equity firm is putting together a bid for Emap’s business communications arm.

Hicks Muse Tate & Furst, the American private equity firm, is preparing a £600m bid for the business communications arm of publishing group Emap, the Times reports. Emap declined to comment on the report.

The newspaper cites a source close to Hicks Muse who said the firm would pay eight to ten times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the division which would value it at between £480m and £600m. The communications arm publishes titles such as Nursing Times, Mother and Baby and other trade titles. These might fit well into Hicks Muse’s growing media holdings based in the UK.

Texas-based Hicks Muse Tate & Furst certainly has the cash to invest in the business. It completed the first closing of its Equity Fund V at $1.2bn (E1.34bn) in December last year. The fund will be targeted at investment opportunities in the US and Europe in the consumer branded, manufacturing and media sectors.

The firm is also understood to be pursuing motor trade listings magazines in Italy, France and America to add to its Glass’s business in the UK. Glass’s was bought by Hicks Muse for £126m in 1998.

Last week the Financial Times suggested Emap was looking at selling its US magazine business, which management thought was holding the company back. Emap bought the US division in 1999 for £720m.