Times supps sale nears

By Jean Morgan

A sale of Times Education Supplements is close, perhaps as early as next week.

Private equity company Exponent is the lead bidder in a deal that
could see The Times Educational Supplement and Times Higher Education
Supplement bought for more than £220m. But News International, owner of
the supplements division – which also includes Nursery World and an
exhibitions operation, but not The Times Literary Supplement– is still
in talks with two bidders, the second being venture capitalist Candover.

NI
decided to sell its profitable but non-core asset in July, when Times
Supplements chief executive James McManus confirmed to his staff that
there had been expressions of interest from a number of bidders and the
company was exploring them.

Exponent split away from another venture capitalist, 3i, around 18 months ago and TSL would be a plum buy for it.

The sale is being handled by New York bank Allen and Co.

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