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Nine bidders emerge for Reader's Digest

The administrator will begin negotiations with selected bidders.

The administrator overseeing the possible acquisition of Reader's Digest UK has received nine offers to take over the business, it revealed today. Accountancy firm Moore Stephens said this morning that the deadline for interest in the business passed earlier this week and it would now begin negotiations with the bidders.

Despite the deadline passing, the firm said it was likely further viable offers could yet still be tabled. Phillip Sykes, head of corporate advisory services at Moore Stephens, said he remained optimistic about the future of Reader's Digest.

He said: "The process is progressing as planned and we are very pleased with the number and quality of offers we have received. We are now evaluating the bids and will begin detailed negotiations and due diligence with selected bidders from the beginning of next week."

The administrator said the April issue of Reader's Digest would hit newsstands later this month as planned and that work on the May, June and July issues was continuing as planned. In addition, the magazine's sales team is marketing advertising space to media agencies, prize draws are continuing and new direct marketing campaigns are underway and goods are being despatched to customers.

The 72-year-old British edition of Reader's Digest went into administration last month when its US parent company, Reader's Digest Association (RDA), said it was no longer able to support it following a crisis in its pension fund. Reader's Digest employs 117 staff in the UK and has a monthly circulation of 465,028. It has offices in Canary Wharf, east London, and Swindon, Wiltshire.

Reader's Digest UK called in administrators after it failed to secure regulatory backing for a funding deal for its pension scheme, which has a £125 million shortfall. The UK Pensions Regulator ruled against proposals that would have seen the US parent inject £10.9 million as a lump sum and one third of the equity of the UK business into the pension fund.

Oliver Luft writes for Press Gazette