Emap has sold its consumer magazines and radio stations to German publisher H Bauer for £1.14bn and abandoned plans to dispose of its business-to-business division.
The company confirmed this morning it had terminated discussions with a number of bidders interested in acquiring its B2B magazines and events division.
Bauer is the largest privately owned publisher in Europe, publishing 166 magazines in 14 countries. Its UK titles include Take A Break, Bella and TV Quick. It bid £718m for Emap Consumer Media and £422m for Emap Radio.
The disposal is subject to shareholder approval. The radio transaction is also conditional on the successful completion of the disposal of Emap’s Irish radio stations, announced earlier this year.
Peterborough-based Emap launched a review of the business in July after receiving a number of unsolicited proposals. Second-round bids for Emap’s assets were submitted earlier this week.
The board is understood to have met on Wednesday and given Bauer a period of exclusivity to make its final bid.
In a statement this morning, Emap said it believed “that the best value for shareholders will be achieved through continuing to operate this focused [B2B] business on a standalone basis.”
The Emap executive chairman, Alun Cathcart, said: “We are pleased to have achieved a successful outcome in the review of Emap’s group structure. The price achieved for Emap Consumer Media and Emap Radio fully reflects the value of the two divisions.
“Emap will now be a focused B2B company with strong market positions, strong cash flow and a proven management team and track record in delivering value and growth.”
The company intends to return approximately £1bn to shareholders from the proceeds of the disposal.