French media giant Vivendi Universal said Tuesday it was in exclusive talks to sell its trade publishing activities which include magazines about factories, farming and medicine to British investment group Cinven for about $1.8 billion.
Vivendi said it wants to reduce its exposure to swings in advertising revenue.
The company said it hopes to sign an agreement with Cinven in the coming days and expects to complete the deal by Oct. 30. In the meantime, Vivendi and Cinven are bound by a two-month exclusivity agreement.
Vivendi had indicated plans to sell its Vivendi Universal Publishing unit several weeks ago in a move partly designed to finance its nearly $2 billion purchase of U.S. textbook publishing house Houghton Mifflin.
The unit's publications include French-language trade magazines such as Usine Nouvelle, about factories, and France Agricole, which focuses on farming, as well as medical publications such as Le Quotidien du Medecin.
Vivendi said it hoped to focus more on general interest publications and reduce its exposure to publishing businesses that rely on advertising.
Vivendi said it received several bids for the unit, and Cinven's was the highest. The French company said the management of its trade press unit backed Cinven's bid.