LONDON: Global publishing and information provider Reed Elsevier is offering a £1 billion ($1.98bn; €1.25bn) loan incentive to drum-up interest in the sale of its business magazines division.

The unit, which was put up for auction at the beginning of the year, publishes titles such as Computer Weekly, New Scientist and Variety plus countless websites.

The credit crunch is taking its toll on financing such deals and Reed has been forced to put in place loans that would be available to putative buyers of the Reed Business Information division. It expects to attract bids of around £1.25bn.

Among the interested parties are private equity firms Advent, 3i, Candover, Cinven, Providence Equity, Permira and Apax Partners.

RBI is hoping to be sold in once piece, but some industry experts believe it will be a difficult sale to achieve and the unit may have to be broken up.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff