Business publisher Informa has been approached by private equity group Candover and Cinven, in a bid to create a European publishing giant worth more than £4bn.
Informa is the largest publicly owned organiser of conferences and courses in the world, and publishes more than 2,000 subscription-based information services. Its magazines portfolio includes insurance and banking titles The Review and Banking Technology, telecom and media magazines, law, maritime and transport publications.
Candover and Cinven already owns Springer Science and Business Media, the world's second largest academic publisher in the science, technology and medicine sector, and the market leading B2B publisher in German-speaking and Eastern European countries.
Combining Informa with Springer Science would create one of the world's biggest publishing companies — rivalling Reed-Elsevier and VNU.
Informa confirmed that an approach had been made by Candover and Cinven, but said it had been a "highly preliminary approach" and discussions were at "an extremely early stage and, consequently, there can be no certainty that an offer will be made".