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Bridgepoint Hires Goldman Sachs for Sale of Dutch Textbook Firm

Bridgepoint Advisers Ltd. hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to oversee a potential sale of Dutch textbook publisher Noordhoff Uitgevers, just as the government tries to rein in the cost of school materials.

The private-equity firm will separate Noordhoff from the group of education assets it acquired from Wolters Kluwer NV, said two people with knowledge of the talks, who asked not to be identified because the London-based firm hasn’t made the process public. The firm paid about 774 million euros ($1 billion) for the businesses in 2007 and renamed the group Infinitas.

“Goldman Sachs has been appointed to help explore strategic options” for Noordhoff Uitgevers, Infinitas said in an e-mailed statement today. Officials at Bridgepoint and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

The Dutch undersecretary for education yesterday announced plans to stop funding free textbooks for secondary school pupils. From 2015, parents will be required to pay as much as 300 euros a year for books. Noordhoff sells textbooks for Dutch children to use from primary school through university. The company has 355 employees and has also developed study kits used on the iPad, according to its website.

Private-equity firms typically pool money from pension plans and endowments with a mandate to buy companies within five to six years, then sell them and return the money and a profit after 10 years. The firms usually charge a management fee of as much as 2 percent and keep 20 percent of the profits from investments. Bridgepoint raised 4.8 billion euros for its fourth pool of capital in 2008.

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