EQT Said to Lean Toward Sale to BC Amid Concern About IPO

EQT Partners AB, a Swedish buyout firm, is leaning toward a sale of German academic publisher Springer Science & Business Media GmbH to BC Partners Ltd. amid concern that an initial public offering would not fetch the desired amount, said people familiar with the matter.

BC Partners, a private-equity firm based in London, has offered about 3.1 billion euros ($4.1 billion) and EQT is seeking about 3.25 billion euros, said the people, who asked not to be identified as talks are private. EQT had earlier sought about 3.5 billion euros, they said. While the firms are still trying to reach an agreement on price, the talks may fall apart or an IPO could be chosen, they said.

Springer Science said June 5 that it plans to raise about 760 million euros in an IPO and shares would start trading in Frankfurt before the summer break. The Stockholm-based buyout firm, which bought the company jointly with the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. in 2009, is still accepting takeover offers and BC Partners was the sole bidder to hand in an offer, people familiar with the matter said yesterday.

The Euro Stoxx 50, a measure of shares in nations using the common currency, has declined three days in a row, bringing this month’s slump to 3 percent. A potential Springer Science listing would compete with Kion Group GmbH, the world’s second-largest maker of forklifts, and Deutsche Annington Immobilien AG, the country’s largest residential landlord, which both launched IPOs this month.

Spokesmen at BC Partners, EQT and Springer Science declined to comment.

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