GMG in Apax link to buy Radio Forth owner Emap

GUARDIAN Media Group has teamed up with Apax to bid for the entire business-to-business arm of Radio Forth owner Emap.

The publisher of The Guardian and The Observer has been linked for some time with some aspects of the firm's business-to-business wing.

But alongside Apax it is now understood to be lining up a bid for the entire wing, which includes an event management company that is the UK's biggest exhibitions organiser and trade publications including Local Government Chronicle and Retail Week.

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Any bid by the companies is expected to value the division at between 1.2 billion and 1.3bn.

It is understood GMG was keen to bid for all Emap's other divisions as well, including the 400m radio business and 700m portfolio of consumer magazines. But Emap, which is temporarily headed by executive chairman Alun Cathcart, is known to be against selling itself off as one unit.

As well as Radio Forth, Emap also owns radio stations including Kiss 100 and Kerrang, while consumer magazines include Angling Times and Zoo.

GMG, which has declined to comment on any link-up with Apax, has little business-to-business interests but it is thought to be looking to deploy much of the 650m it received from Apax earlier this year in return for a 49.9 per cent share of the Auto Trader group of magazines.

Meanwhile, Channel 4 has held talks with Emap about taking full control of Box Television, home to The Hits and Kerrang! TV.