* EQT, GIC to start sending info next week - sources
* Aim to fetch price of 3-4 billion euros - sources
* Eye Informa, Wolters Kluwer, Reed Elsevier - source
* Private equity firms also among possible bidders - sources
FRANKFURT, Nov 28 Private equity firms EQT and
GIC will start contacting potential buyers for Springer
Science+Business Media next week, aiming to fetch up
to 4 billion euros ($5.2 billion), two people close to the
process told Reuters.
The owners have been preparing an initial public offering
(IPO) of the German speciality publisher for April 2013 but are
now launching a parallel sales process as an outright sale will
generate greater proceeds, the sources said.
Potential bidders will get information packages from next
week, they said.
Springer Science, the world's second-largest publisher in
science, technology and medicine after Reed Elsevier,
and EQT declined to comment. GIC was not immediately available
An IPO remains the preferred option, two people close to the
transaction said, adding that advisory boutique Lilja has been
mandated alongside Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan to
help organise the flotation.
In a similar divestment process last year, EQT prepared an
IPO of German cable group KabelBW but ended up selling the
business to Liberty Global.
EQT and GIC hope to get the attention of German media group
Bertelsmann, British business media group Informa
, Dutch publisher Wolters Kluwer and
Anglo-Dutch peer Reed Elsevier, a person close to the owners of
Springer Science said.
Big private equity groups such as KKR, Carlyle
, Providence, Blackstone, CVC and BC
Partners will also get the information memorandums,
the sources said.
Several people said Springer Science could carry a price tag
of 3-4 billion euros, meaning it would fetch between 8.6 and
11.4 times expected 2012 EBITDA. By comparison, peer Wolters
Kluwer trades at a ratio of enterprise value to EBITDA of 7.4
and Pearson at 10.5, according to StarMine data.