The former scientific arm of Thomson Reuters has entered the race to become the new owner of Times Higher Education (THE), the universities bible.
Sky News understands that Clarivate Analytics has joined a £100m bidding war for THE, which is part of TES Global, the education data and information group.
City sources said that Clarivate was regarded as likely to edge out competition to buy THE from RELX, the FTSE-100 exhibitions-to-science journals owner.
Clarivate was bought by Onex and Baring Private Equity Asia for $3.5bn in 2016.
Since then, the company has acquired a number of other assets, including in the UK.
Sources said the auction of THE, which is being overseen by bankers at Macquarie Capital, had also drawn interest from private equity firms.
The unit includes Times Higher Education, the weekly magazine which reports on news and issues related to the post-18 education sector.
The remainder of TES Global’s business, which includes the magazine previously called The Times Education Supplement, is in the process of being sold separately by Jefferies, the investment bank.
THE focuses on university students while TES Global’s other operations relate to the education of children aged between 5 and 12.
The two businesses are being sold by TPG Capital, the American private equity firm which has endured a difficult time in the UK recently as a consequence of its investments in restaurant chain Prezzo and discount retailer Poundworld.
TPG was reported to have paid £400m for TES Global in 2013.
The education group is a fast-growing international company which has roughly seven million registered users – making it the world’s largest online teaching community.
Based in London, it employs more than 600 people.
The company was once owned by the publisher of The Times newspaper, before being sold to Exponent, a private equity firm, in 2005.
It has since been through two further periods of private equity ownership and has been a lucrative investment for its previous financial backers.
TES Global is run by Rob Grimshaw, a former Financial Times executive who was recruited because of his track record helping to grow its digital readership.