Variety Was On The Block, Or Was It?

Variety, owned by London’s Reed Elsevier, looked to be the target of overall billion-dollar buyout by British firm Bain Capital, the Independent said on Sunday.

That was then.

Four days later, all bets are off. Reed Elsevier seems to be saying no dice to any and all offers.

Citing the poor economy (what else is new?) and frozen credit markets, Reed Elsevier said it wants to wait until conditions are more favorable.

Chief Executive Officer Crispin Davis planned to sell the unit to make Reed Elsevier less dependent on ad sales and swings in the economy, while using the proceeds to repay debt and safeguard its credit rating.

One of three bidders (probably Bain Capital) dropped out last weekend, according to two people familiar with the process.

“Let’s be honest, these are tough markets and the price being proposed was just too low,” Alex De Groote, an analyst at Panmure Gordon & Co. in London, told Bloomberg. “This was the only deal anywhere and it was almost bizarre it was still going on in this economy.”

It might be back to the drawing board for Reed Elsevier, but Variety says it’s nonetheless doing quite well.

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