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Bain Close To Buying Reed Business; Parent May Keep a Stake; Apollo May Rebid

The sale process of Reed Business is in its final stages, as one of the two bidders left in the fray, Texas Pacific Group/DLJ combo, has dropped out of the bid, according to reports. This leaves Bain Capital as the only bidder and with a shot to buy it following due diligence. Sir Crispin Davis, the outgoing CEO of Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK), has invited Apollo and Zelnick Media combo to bid again, even though it pulled out of the auction last month, and our sources say privately Strauss Zelnick still wants it and has been telling people he is still in with a chance. Whatever it is, likely a decision will be reached by the end of this month, sources say.

The sale price is now around $1 billion, down drastically from the starting asking price of around $2 billion when the process started in February. For Bain, the final thorn is that Reed Elsevier is unhappy with some of the complicated earnout conditions of its bid, a move that would effectively tie key executives to RBI for a number of years, says the Independent. RBI global CEO Gerard van de Aast left last month, leading to more speculation that the sale process hasn’t gone the smoothest.

Besides $1.26 billion loan package arranged by six banks, there is a possibility that Reed Elsevier may retain a stake in RBI with this sale, reports ThisisMoney. For the full auction process, read our special RBI section.

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