Springer Science set to attract 5 bids from private equity

FRANKFURT, April 23 Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:13pm EDT

FRANKFURT, April 23 (Reuters) - Five private equity groups are set to bid for Springer Science+Business Media, owned by private equity firm EQT and sovereign wealth fund GIC, several people close to the process told Reuters.

While EQT and GIC are hoping to reap as much as 4 billion euros ($5.2 billion) for the German speciality publisher of scientific journals, the prospective buyers are unlikely to offer much more than a price tag of slightly over 3 billion euros, the sources said.

Those due to hand in bids later this week are Carlyle , Providence, BC Partners, KKR and Hellman & Friedman, the sources said, adding second-round bids are due in June.

EQT and Carlyle, BC Partners, KKR declined to comment. GIC - the investment vehicle of the government of Singapore - Providence and Hellman & Friedman were not immediately available for comment.

German media group Bertelsmann has already said it was not considering buying Springer Science. No other strategic bidders emerged, the sources said.

Springer Science's owners are simultaneously still working on the preparations for an initial public offering (IPO), which would likely take place early July if the sellers conclude they would reap a higher price in a listing than in an outright sale.

EQT and GIC bought Springer Science in 2009 for 2.3 billion euros.

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