The Telegraph is reporting that Reed Elsevier's management has been in discussions with private equity firms about a possible buy-out of Reed's US$1.0 billion exhibitions business.
The Telegraph reported:
"While Reed Elsevier’s chief executive, Erik Engstrom, has insisted there are no current plans for asset disposals, there has been considerable interest in the exhibitions division from the private equity industry.
It is understood that informal meetings were held between the management, led by the division’s chairman Mike Rusbridge, and private equity groups in the past six to 12 months, in which the buy-out firms expressed an interest.
Apax is understood to be keen to pair the division with Emap, which it acquired with Guardian Media Group for around £1.3bn in 2007."
It a deal happens, it would be a mega-sized transaction by exhibition industry standards and it would have implications for the industry worldwide - including in Asia where Reed is the largest organiser measured by revenues.
Update: Now CityAM, a London-based, free business newspaper appears to have an exclusive claiming that Reed's discussions with private equity firms have stopped. For what that is worth...