September 22, 2015 / 11:08 PM / 4 years ago

Exclusive - Cision prepares bid for UBM's PR Newswire: sources

(Reuters) - Cision, a provider of public relations software and intelligence, is working on a bid to acquire press release distributor PR Newswire Association LLC, according to people familiar with the matter.

Cision, owned by private equity firm GTCR LLC, is participating in an auction run by British communications and events company UBM Plc UBM.L, which owns PR Newswire, the people said this week. Cision faces competition for PR Newswire and there is no certainty it will prevail, the people added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Cision and UBM declined to comment, while PR Newswire and GTCR did not respond to requests for comment.

Reuters reported earlier this year, based on sources, that UBM was looking to sell PR Newswire for more than $700 million.

UBM is looking to sell PR Newswire so it can focus on increasing the company’s market share in trade shows and events. It bought trade show company Advanstar Communication Inc for $972 million last year.

Based in Chicago, Cision has several products serving PR professionals and journalists. It owns a service called “Help a Reporter Out,” that matches experts with journalists, and PRWeb, a competing service to PR Newswire.

GTCR has been acquiring several companies in the public relations software space recently. Last year it bought Cision and merged it with peer Vocus. It subsequently used Cision to acquire Gorkana Group Ltd, a media intelligence and data insights service provider.

PR Newswire had revenue of 195.8 million pounds ($300.6 million) in 2014, accounting for 26 percent of UBM’s total revenue and down 3 percent from 2013. Its adjusted operating profit was 44.8 million pounds, down 1.8 percent.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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