Reed Business Sale Expected As Early As October; Gruner & Jahr Now Interested

Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK) expects the sale of its Reed Business Information trade magazine unit to complete as early as October. In a memo seen by Dow Jones, Marianne van Leeuwen, CEO of the Holland operation, says bids were made for RBI “since last week”. “In the first three weeks of September, the global board of Reed Business will give a management presentation to potential acquirers,” Van Leeuwen wrote, though she said she did not know who the buyers would be.

BusinessWeek publisher McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP), private equity house Bain Capital, Providence Equity Partners and Apollo Management have been linked with bids, while Billboard publisher Nielsen was also linked. In half-year earnings last month, Reed Elsevier reported “strong buyer interest” in RBI. This means we will have a new owner of Variety very soon…

Updated: Reuters reports that German publishing giant Gruner & Jahr is interested in buying the division, citing a German newspaper report…the company exited the U.S. market in 2005 after a disastrous foray buying FastCompany and launching the Rosie magazine. It sold its women’s magazine portfolio to Meredith (NYSE: MDP) and its business magazine portfolio to Mansueto Ventures.