BC Partners Ltd., a London-based private-equity firm, agreed to buy German academic publisher Springer Science & Business Media GmbH for 3.3 billion euros ($4.4 billion) from EQT Partners AB and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.
The deal follows months of discussions over Springer Science’s future and means the publisher won’t be taken public, contrary to what EQT said as recently as last week. EQT, a buyout firm part-owned by Sweden’s Wallenberg family, and GIC will remain minority investors, BC said today in a statement.
Springer Science, with more than 7,000 employees and sales of 981 million euros in 2012, publishes 2,000 magazines and 7,000 books every year on subjects including science and medicine. The sale marks the second-largest German deal and the sixth-biggest private-equity transaction worldwide this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
BC plans to focus the business on areas such as emerging markets and open-access publishing, it said. EQT hoped to receive 3.5 billion euros for the company, then lowered its asking price to 3.25 billion euros after BC Partners emerged as the final bidder in an auction, people familiar with the matter had said. EQT and GIC bought the Berlin-based academic publisher in 2009.
BC Partners hired Barclays Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Nomura Holdings Inc. and UBS AG to help arrange financing for the transaction, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Rosanna Konarzewski, a spokeswoman for BC Partners, declined to comment on debt financing.
London-based Candover Investments Plc and another private-equity firm, Cinven Ltd., formed Springer Science in 2003 when they bought Kluwer Academic Publishers and BertelsmannSpringer.
BC Partners was advised by Jefferies Group LLC, Credit Suisse and Nomura and received legal advice from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, according to a statement today. EQT worked with Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, according to people familiar with the matter.