October 3, 2013 8:50 pm

Potential bidders seek Mergermarket sales info

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Around 50 companies and private equity groups including Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg have requested sales information on Mergermarket, a business intelligence and news service being sold off by Pearson, ahead of Monday’s deadline for first-round bids.

Strong interest is also likely to come from private equity groups, people close to the transaction said, with Warburg Pincus, a New York-based private equity group, BC Partners and Advent all expected to table offers in the first round.

A sale could raise in excess of £300m for Pearson, the international education group that owns the Financial Times.

Mergermarket generates earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £28m, according to the sales document. Potential bidders said they expected a sale to command a double digit earnings multiple as the business was showing healthy earnings growth.

The subscription business generates annual sales of around £100m on the back of subscriptions from a range of corporate clients including investment banks, law firms, hedge funds and private equity firms. It offers a range of reports and products from Debtwire for distressed debt traders, dealReporter for merger arbitrageurs and Wealthmonitor for private bankers

Mergermarket was launched in 2000 and has offices in 65 locations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, boasting a large team of M&A journalists and analysts covering news and analysis on the sector.

In 2006, the company was acquired by the Financial Times Group, a division of Pearson, for £101m.

Pearson announced in July that it planned to sell Mergermarket, having appointed JPMorgan Cazenove to advise on the process which is expected to conclude by the end of the year. However, Pearson has said that “there is no certainty that it will lead to a transaction.”

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