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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

IM in Bid For VNU Magazines

Independent Media, the parent company of The Moscow Times, is leading a consortium that is bidding $1 billion for the consumer magazine division of Dutch publishing giant VNU, according to news reports.

The Wall Street Journal Asia on Wednesday quoted Independent Media chairman Boudewijn Poelman as saying that the U.S. media powerhouse Hearst Corp. is backing the bid by Independent Media and ING Bank, a unit of Amsterdam-based ING Group NV.

Independent Media CEO Derk Sauer confirmed in a written statement Wednesday that his company "is in discussions with ING and Hearst regarding the opportunity to bid for the consumer magazines division of VNU."

VNU spokesman Maarten Schikker said in a telephone interview that his company would close the bidding process in the next few days and that the winner would be announced in late July or August. He wouldn't elaborate.

The Wall Street Journal Asia quoted George Green, president of Hearst Magazines International, as saying his company has not made a financial commitment to Independent Media for its VNU bid, but it could support the bid by promising to maintain or expand its existing relationship with VNU in the event that Independent Media wins.

Hearst has alliances with both VNU and Independent Media, which is 35 percent owned by VNU.

VNU publishes more than 150 titles and posted sales of $694.4 million last year.