Last three in race for TSL

Candover, Apax and Exponent are the last firms standing in the auction for Murdoch-owned UK educational publisher TSL.

Three private equity firms have been shortlisted in the second round of bids for TSL, the educational supplements business of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, according to press reports.
 
Candover, Apax Partners, and Exponent have until the first week of September to make their final bids in the auction, which is being run by New York-based bank Allen & Co.
 
The Financial Times cites a source close to the auction who says that the final price is likely to be around £250 million (€368 million; $452 million). This is some distance below the £280 upper boundary earlier predicted by analysts.
 
TSL produces the Times Educational Supplement, the Times Higher Educational Supplement, and smaller titles such as pre-school magazine Nursery World. Last year it had pre-tax profits of £23 million.
 
News International will retain control of one of the stable’s titles, the Times Literary Supplement.
 
Although reports suggest it is unclear whether trade buyers are also in the running, the private equity buyers are thought to be the frontrunners. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and The Carlyle Group also made early bids, but have not been shortlisted.
 
News International, the UK publishing arm of News Corp, owns national newspapers including The Times, The Sun, The Sunday Times and The News of the World.
 
Although the company is selling other non-core businesses, such as the 38 percent stake in The Wireless Group which Ulster Television bought for £35 million, this is the first disposal of a UK Murdoch-owned title since he acquired the newspaper stable in 1981.