Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Village gossip - dealmakers' digest goes on the block

Revealed: Private Equity International could be about to change hands for between £35million and £50 million.

I understand the company behind Private Equity International, PEI, has hired advisers from Livingstone Partners to look at "strategic options", which could result in a sale of the publishing, conferences and training business.

First round bids for PEI are expected to be submitted in the next few weeks, according to my moles.

The irony of the situation will not be lost on Private Equity International's readers - the magazine and website specialises in writing about companies that have been bought and sold by buy-out firms. And several of the potential buyers are likely to be the private equity firms the trade publisher writes about.

PEI was actually set up by Richard O'Donohoe and David Hawkins in 1995. They sold the company to Euromoney Institutional Investor but in 2001 bought the assets from the FTSE 250-listed publisher as part of a management buy-out

Since then, the business has grown and now generates, according to my sources, between £3 million and £3.5 million of EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) but is forecast make around £4.4 million of EBITDA in 2015.

I have been told there may be a reasonable amount of trade interest. I don't have the inside track on who the potential trade buyers are but you would have thought that publishers with assets in this space (they know who they are) could be interested in taking a look at the business.

What is not clear is how much PEI will be sold for. Sources following the situation said the company could be worth between £35 million and £50 million if one applies the type of multiples that these types of companies are currently being sold/bought for.  

PEI did not return calls for comment. Livingstone Partners declined to comment.  

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