Sanoma WSOY – Finland’s number-one media company – has bought the consumer magazines unit of Dutch publishing group VNU for E1.25 billion ($1.1bn).

The agreed price falls well below VNU’s initial valuation of E2bn ($1.7bn). Comprising 185 publications, the business has been on the market for several months [WAMN: 24-Jan-01], but sparked only limited interest in the current advertising slowdown. Sanoma faced one rival bid in the final round of talks, from private equity firms BC Partners and CVC.

VNU decided to sell the unit, along with its education magazine business, to fund its acquisition of market research giant ACNielsen. Eager to pay off a bridging loan, it opted to sell now rather than wait for the magazine sector to revive.

News source: Financial Times