Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reed Elsevier Most Obvious Buy-Out Candidate?

The Times is reporting that Deutsche Bank called Reed Elsevier the publishing sector’s “most obvious buyout target”. The bank has raised its recommendation on the stock to buy. This is how they see it:
The broker argued that Reed shares could be worth up to 780p to a financial buyer. Sums involved in the Thomson Learning deal also suggested that Reed’s sale of its education business could raise £2.2 billion, up from its previous forecast of £1.8 billion, it said. Reed finished up 16p at 675½p.

Certainly the rules have changed somewhat but applying the multiple paid for Thomson Learning to all of Reed is not quite appropriate. Other analysts have suggested that Reed will escape their education foray successfully and the share price for the balance of Reed will escalate because it is currently weighted down by the educational unit. Reed will certainly benefit from the Thomson Learning sale but if you look at the multiple paid for Reuters (an information business) by Thomson the picture is not as glaringly bright if you are concerned with relative price multiples. Either that or Thomson got a real bargain.

DB may have a vested interest here because Pearson has been consistently touted as the most likely PE target. No doubt there is more action to come in this arena.

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