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Monday, December 08, 2008

Its a Bit of a Bain, but there is only one bidder left for RBI

The Telegraph reports that only Bain Capital remains in the bid process for RBI at a bid of around £680m - around half the original price. The article also speculates that the proposed deal involves an earn out (ie deferred consideration) and a lock in for key executives.

As gifted as they are, the radical surgery and rethink needed in RBI is not best solved by managers who have been there 25 years. Earn outs are always messy and Reed Elsevier will be reluctant to tie themselves into future consideration over which they have no control.

Bain will consider that either they will have got RBI on the cheap, or by the time the earn out kicks in, the financial markets will be looser and raising funds will less of an issue.

I have no idea whether he is involved in the deal, but a Bain Consulting senior guy is one Graham Elton who was briefly CEO of Miller Freeman UK (now CMPi/United Business Media).

The odds of the deal closing are getting longer. There is every possibility of a withdraw before Christmas.

Deal or no deal, vicious cost cutting will follow rapidly in the new year.

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