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Reed Elsevier Sells French Unit to BNP, Rothschild Funds

Reed Elsevier Plc, owner of the LexisNexis database, sold its French media unit RBI France to funds belonging to Edmond de Rothschild Group and BNP Paribas Developpement to reduce its dependence on advertising revenue.

The funds bought a 75 percent stake of RBI France, while the remaining 25 percent was purchased by managers Jean-Pierre Seguret and Alexandre Sidommo, Reed Elsevier said in a statement today. RBI France was sold for 40 million pounds ($61 million), according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the financial details are confidential.

RBI France is the latest disposal by the Anglo-Dutch publisher as it moves away from cyclical markets to focus on electronic data services and research offerings. The company sold its Australian media business in January and the Variety Hollywood trade magazine in October. In April, Reed Elsevier bought Mendeley Ltd., a cloud-based research and collaboration service, to add to scientific, technical and medical publishing.

London-based Reed Elsevier said in February it expects to post growth in underlying revenue, profit and earnings in 2013, even as the market remains “mixed.” About 20 percent of Reed Elsevier revenue in 2012 came from print products.

The funds’ “common goal is now to enable RBI to seize growth opportunities in its markets,” Pierre-Yves Poirier, a partner at Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, said in an e-mailed statement.

Laura Barkatz, a Rothschild representative, declined to comment on the amount of the purchase. Spokesmen at BNP Paribas didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment.

Reed Elsevier shares fell 0.1 percent to 740 pence at 10:25 a.m. in London.

RBI France publishes titles including Strategies, Directions and Coiffure de Paris.

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