EMAP is understood to have approached a national newspaper with a view to forming a joint venture to bid for magazine giant IPC Media.
It is rumoured in the City that EMAP was rebuffed by the newspaper group over a combined purchase of the company, which recently changed its name from IPC Magazines to IPC Media.
The speculation follows EMAP’s results presentation on May 30, when chief executive Kevin Hands responded to a question asking whether he would be interested in acquiring any part of IPC by making it clear he thinks the company has a number of attractive assets.
One City analyst says: “I heard that EMAP approached a national newspaper group and was interested in a joint venture. But the newspaper group wasn’t interested.”
An EMAP spokesman says: “We never comment on market speculation.”
Cinven, the private equity group which led a consortium of investors to buy IPC Magazines from Reed Elsevier in 1998 for &£860m, is known to have entered into talks over the subsequent sale of the company.
Cable operator Telewest is one of a number of companies which approached Cinven. It is understood that Cinven is seeking more than &£1bn for the magazine company.
IPC chief executive Sly Bailey, who recently completed a strategic review, dismissed the rumours about EMAP. She says the talks Cinven is holding are “much more about partnerships and strategic alliances”.
Bailey confirms that Cinven will be injecting new funds into the company – on top of the &£25m it pumped in last August to support new media plans.
As a result of the strategic review, IPC Magazines changed its name to IPC Media.