RBI Sell-off Stalls Again With $180 Million Finance Shortfall


Will Reed Business Information ever get the deal it wants? The sale of the B2B arm of magazine publisher Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK), one of the biggest and most highly leveraged media deals around, looks increasingly unlikely as the New Scientist and Variety publisher struggles to raise enough money in these troubled times for credit markets. We learned in August that Reed hoped the sale would go ahead in October. But now The Financial Times and Reuters report that the deal is facing a funding shortfall of 10 to 15 percent, or, $180 million (£102.6 million).

RBI and its banker UBS originally organised a “stapled” finance package of $1.26 billion (£781 million) from a consortium of seven banks but the remaining lending banks will have now have to put more money in to make it happen, or Reed itself could be forced to pay the shortfall. PE firms Bain Capital and TPG remain in the third round of bidding along with former Reed non-executive director Strauss Zelnick, who is teaming up with PE group Apollo. That third round deadline is three weeks to four weeks away and many in the media world will be watching closely to see whether it is possible to make big-money deals happen in an unprecedented period of economic uncertainty.


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