GERMAN academic publisher Springer Science+Business Media is pressing ahead with a €760m (£647m) floatation in early July, raising the pressure on potential investors eyeing the whole company.
Three private equity firms have offered as much as €3.5bn for Springer Science, but the company’s owners – Swedish private equity firm EQT and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) – are holding out for more, according to sources.
The people said EQT and GIC would decide on those offers within two weeks.
For now, the company said it was pressing ahead with the plan to join the stock market in Frankfurt before the European summer break, selling new shares to the public to pay down debt.
The two people with knowledge of the situation said the listing was planned for the first week of July.
That plan could be cancelled, even at the last minute, if an outright sale of the company is agreed.
“There is no final decision yet,” said one of the people. “They are still hoping for a last-minute knock-out bid.”
Springer Science’s shareholders declined to comment on the sale process.
The company said it had appointed Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners.
The offering includes a so-called greenshoe option, which would allow the underwriters to sell additional shares representing up to 15 per cent of the offer size if there is strong demand.
These extra shares would be existing stock provided by EQT and GIC, which will not be selling shares as part of the main offering as they intend to retain a majority stake.