European private equity house Candover has put global electronic publisher Bureau van Dijk up for sale, in a move which could see the company fetch £500m – £600m (US$ 1 bn – US$ 1,2bn).  Candover acquired a 60 per cent stake in Bureau van Dijk in 2004, with the remaining 40 per cent thought to be owned by management.

Bureau van Dijk Electronic Publishing (BvDEP) is a European aggregator of company and financial information with an extensive range of company information products that combines high quality data from many sources with innovative software.  The company is known for detailed, analytical databases, for in-depth research, such as AMADEUS (a pan-European database), ORBIS (33 million companies around the world) as well as extensive country- specific databases (FAME, DIANE, DAFNE).  These products are used in in-depth research of individual companies, identifying companies complying with specific criteria plus detailed analysis of company peer groups and benchmarking. In addition, the ZEPHYR database covers M&A deals and rumors.  BvDEP operates in 24 countries and announced recently the opening of three new offices: Sydney, Bahrain and Chicago.  BvDEP claims to maintain databases on over 30,000,000 businesses worldwide.  Source: Industry Press

BIIA Comment: Industry analysts speculate that the recent growth of consolidation in the industry and relative high multiples may spark a bidding war, with business information publishers Reuters, Pearson, Reed Elsevier and Incisive Media named as possible suitors, as well as US firms Dow Jones & Co, McGraw Hill and Factset.  There is value in knowledge and today’s multiples may be the inducement to sell, however to expect a value of US$ 1.2 bn for a company with less than US$ 100 million in revenues may be far fetched.  Perhaps there may be another reason for cashing in.  As an aggregator of financial statements Bureau van Dijk is sandwiched between public sector information providers and end users.  Increased emphasis on disclosure and advances in technology drives the availability of structured financial information from the public sector, which in turn will be accessible by end users.

BIIA Newsletter April – 2007 Issue