Cinven, the London-headquartered venture capital group whose controlling holding in IPC Media was pivotal in securing its sale to AOL Time Warner [WAMN: 26-Jul-01], has wasted no time in spending some of the substantial capital gains accruing from the deal.

The money manipulator is in “advanced talks” with French-owned media giant Vivendi Universal concerning the E2 billion purchase of the latter’s business and professional publishing arm. The stable of [mainly] French-language publications includes the Barbour Index and also covers sectors ranging from building and farming to medical titles.

Vivendi has been negotiating with several interested parties since June when it put its professional publishing business up for grabs. The money will go towards plugging the $2.2bn gap in its liquidity left by the recent purchase of US textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin

Cinven is not the only suitor: other Romeos are said to include Reed Elsevier, Bertelsmann and VNU. However, Cinven’s proposal is not only the highest but is said by Vivendi to be the “most coherent” – not to say the most cohesive in that it does not advocate the break-up of the magazine stable. Its offer also “has present management’s support,” says Vivendi.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)