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July 31, 2008

Middle East events giant circles Informa llR

The ongoing saga concerning the ownership of Informa continued earlier today, when private equity group Blackstone, one of the world's largest buyout groups, was reported to be part of a consortium, which includes a Dubai sovereign wealth fund, formed to bid for the British media group, according to The Financial Times.

In a move that further underlines the growing power of the Middle East within the meetings and events sector, the report says that the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), one of the biggest events organisers in the Middle East, is seeking to buy Informa's IIR conference and events division.

DWTC has been interested in parts of Informa for some time. Back in 2005, the Dubai company bid for IIR, the world's largest provider of trade conferences and exhibitions. At that time the Dubai group's offer was trumped by Informa, which paid Tory peer Irvine Laidlaw £768 million for his business.

Informa, which among other things publishes the Lloyd’s List, issued a statement saying it had “received a preliminary approach from a further third party and as a result is providing access to information materials".

Blackstone and other private equity groups, possibly including Permira, are likely keep Informa's Taylor & Francis academic publishing division, while seeking trade buyers for other units, such as the Datamonitor business information arm, reported the FT.

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