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Publishing

UPDATE 1-German publisher says bidding for Reed magazines

(Adds detail, background, share price)

FRANKFURT, Aug 21 (Reuters) - German publishing house Gruner + Jahr is among a second round of bidders interested in buying the trade magazines unit of Anglo-Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier REL.LELSN.AS, a G + J spokesman said on Thursday.

“We and others are among those bidding in the second round. It is a non-binding offer,” a Gruner + Jahr spokesman said.

He declined to give details.

The Hamburg-based publisher, owned by media group Bertelsmann [BERT.UL], has been steadily expanding its brands online such as its flagship weekly Stern and the women’s magazine Brigitte to compensate for waning growth in the magazine market.

Gruner + Jahr’s Chief Executive Bernd Kundrun has said in the past the publisher did not rule out acquisitions and would take a closer look should an opportunity present itself.

Shares in Reed Elsevier rose 2.23 percent to 595.5 pence in in London and had gained 1.84 percent to 11.06 euros in Amserdam at 1059 GMT, outperforming a flat DJ Stoxx European media index .SXMP.

The Anglo-Dutch group put its Reed Business Information (RBI) unit up for sale in February to cut exposure to cyclical advertising markets. It includes the Variety, Farmers Weekly and New Scientist publications.

Reed said last month the sale was progressing well with a high level of interest from potential buyers especially private equity companies.

London’s Daily Telegraph reported last week that up to 12 bidders submitted first-round offers for the business, valued at between 1 billion and 1.25 billion sterling ($1.9 billion and $2.3 billion).

Second-round bids are being sought in the coming weeks with final bids likely in early October, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Sunday.

Gruner + Jahr, which generates over 50 percent of its revenues abroad, last year reported sales of 2.83 billion euros and an operating profit of 264 million euros.

Reporting by Nicola Leske; editing by Rory Channing

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