Buyout firm BC Partners agreed to buy German publisher SpringerScience+Business Media for about 3.3 billion euros ($4.4 billion) on Wednesday, the largest private-equity acquisition in Germany for seven years.
Sources told Reuters earlier this week that the owners entered fresh talks with BC Partners after last week rejecting the firm’s 3.1 billion euro ($4.1 billion) bid as too low and announcing they would float the business.
Springer, which competes with Anglo-Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier and Dutch company Wolters Kluwer, publishes 2,200 English-language journals and more than 8,000 new book titles every year.
Sources said the sellers would keep a stake of about 10 percent in Springer between them. BC Partners confirmed the current owners would retain a minority shareholding.
British private equity investors Candover and Cinven created Springer Science in 2004 by merging Dutch group Kluwer Academic Publishers with German firm BertelsmannSpringer.
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Derk Haank, CEO of Springer, said: “BC Partners has made an enhanced, and very attractive offer for our company. For this reason, my colleagues on the Springer Management Board and I consider this outcome in the best interest of the company, its employees, authors, editors and other stakeholders. We are a healthy, innovative and respected STM publisher and our leading position in fields such as open access, eBooks and our growing presence in emerging markets is an excellent basis for our future success.”
From the BC Partners Announcement:
BC Partners plans to support the continued growth of Springer globally by further expanding its core subscription business as well as focusing on traditionally high-growth areas such as open access publishing and emerging markets. Springer aims to be the prime publishing house for researchers in all disciplines. EQT Partners and GICIC will remain invested as minority shareholders in the business, which will support continuity and stability.