VUP consortium sells UK magazines

Cinven, Carlyle and Apax Partners have sold a group of UK magazine titles they acquired as part of the Vivendi Universal Publishing buyout in April 2002 to United Business Media.

The three private equity firms that funded last year’s leveraged buyout of Vivendi Universal Publishing have completed a partial exit of the business with the sale of Aprovia UK to United Business Media.


One of France's largest LBOs, the E1.2bn acquisition of VUP was made in April 2002 through two holding companies: Aprovia for the business publishing division, and MediMedia for the healthcare-related activities of VUP.


Yesterday, United Business Media agreed to acquire Aprovia UK, owner of UK construction publisher and event organiser, The Builder Group and Barbour Index, an information services provider to the UK construction and health and safety sectors.


UBM is paying £79m (E111m) in cash for the business, equivalent to nine times Aprovia's 2002 EBITDA. For the year ended December 2002 Aprovia UK reported revenues of £31.7m and an EBITDA of £6m. Aprovia will be integrated into CMPi, the UK professional media division of United and will increase CMPi's share of the market – estimated at £140m annually – to over 30 per cent.


Cinven is the largest shareholder in both Aprovia and MediMedia with 37.5 per cent, followed by Carlyle (28 per cent) Vivendi Universal (25 per cent) and Apax Partners (9.5 per cent). The firms declined to comment on the sale.


VUP is among the leading French business publishing groups in, 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 world’s third-largest operator in the sector, focusing on four 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.