UK Markets close in 8 hrs 27 mins

Nova Eyes Deal For UBM Data Arm

(c) Sky News 2012

A pack of private equity firms are vying for control of one of the world’s biggest suppliers of data to the aviation, paper and technology industries.

I understand that Electra Partners and Nova Capital Management, a specialist acquirer of asset portfolios, are two of the bidders for the data services arm of United Business Media (UBM), which has been put up for sale by David Levin, the company's chief executive.

A decision is expected to be made by the end of the month about whether to proceed with a sale, which could raise about £250m.

The money is likely to be reinvested in UBM's exhibitions and PR Newswire businesses, Mr Levin has signalled.

UBM's data services unit possesses the most substantial hoard of information on the world’s forests and flight schedules, areas of interest to the paper and packaging and aviation industries.

Nova owns a number of businesses in the media sector, including a stake in Seven Publishing Group, a content agency which is jointly-owned by Guardian Media Group.

The firm is understood to be well-positioned in the auction partly because it hired Luke Matthews, an investment executive, earlier this year from UBM, where he worked on dozens of acquisitions and disposals.

Montagu Private Equity, which also looked at a bid for the UBM division, is no longer involved in the process, which is being handled by investment bankers at Credit Suisse (NYSEArca: CSMA - news) .

UBM was unavailable for comment.