TPG Exits Springer Auction

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. private equity firm TPG Partners is out of the race to acquire a minority stake in German academic publisher Springer Science and Business Media [SPSBM.UL], two sources familiar with the process said.

The exit of TPG from the process leaves EQT (EQT.N) and a consortium of Carlyle Group [CYL.UL] and Providence still in talks with sellers Cinven [CINV.UL] and Candover (CDI.L), the sources said.

Progress on the sale has been painstakingly slow after the three suitors resubmitted second round bids for a 49 percent stake in the business back in mid-July.

Candover and Cinven have been looking for 500 million euros ($735.1 million) for the minority stake in the business but initial bids fell short of their expectations.

Bids had been resubmitted over 400 million euros, a source said at the time.

The private equity firms mentioned declined to comment.

Springer could not be reached immediately for comment.

Springer was formed in 2003 when Candover and Cinven merged BertelsmannSpringer with Kluwer Academic Publishing. The two private equity firms took advantage of hot debt markets to recapitalize the company and pay themselves dividends in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

($1=.6802 Euro)


By Simon Meads and Victoria Howley