PE consortium acquires Vivendi publishing ops

Cinven, Carlyle and Apax have completed the E1.2bn acquisition of Vivendi Universal Publishing.

UK buyout firm Cinven has led the private equity-backed acquisition of the healthcare and business publishing activities of Vivendi Universal. Two other private equity firms, Apax Partners and Carlyle Group, have also backed the acquisition.

The consideration for the transaction is E1.2bn, excluding additional deferred consideration based upon the future performance of the businesses. The amount is considerably lower than the initial E2bn sought by Vivendi when the publishing activities were put up for sale in mid-2001. In keeping with the current trend for larger LBOs, Vivendi will issue a vendor loan note to the consortium as part of the consideration for the transaction.

Cinven said that the acquisition will be made through two holding companies: Approvia for the business publishing and Santemedia for the healthcare activities of VUP. The transaction will be financed by a combination of equity and senior debt in addition to the vendor loan note, subject to regulatory clearance by the European authorities. Vivendi will keep a 25 per cent in VUP with Cinven, Carlyle and Apax acquiring 37.5, 28 and 9.5 per cent stakes respectively.

What the consortium has acquired comprises the leading business publishing firm in France, comprising 70 titles with 1.5m subscribers, and 86 business trade fairs visited by 1.5m people a year. In 2001, revenues were E500m. The healthcare publications division is ranked third in the world, focusing on four principal areas: medical promotions, the medical press, scientific journals and publications and more consumer focused medical guides and magazines. In 2001, revenues for the healthcare publications division were E482m.

Cinven made this latest investment from its Cinven Fund III. Rothschild are lead advisor to Cinven and its partners on this transaction. UBS Warburg has also advised and arranged the issue of senior debt.