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MAID Plc is understood to be considering paying 300m pounds for Knight-Ridder Inc’s Information business (CI No 3,231), which would boost the market value of the UK online business information provider to some 700m pounds. Knight-Ridder Information Inc controls the company’s Dialog and DataStar information databases. The 300m pound price tag may be steep for a company which itself is valued at only 220m pounds, and would apparently be funded by some complex debt arrangements with a number of banks. However, analysts gave the thumbs up to the deal, which could create one of the world’s largest online information providers. Parent company Knight-Ridder put its Information division up for grabs several months ago, but has now apparently ceased talks with all other potential bidders, including MAID rivals Reed Elsevier Plc and Reuters Holdings Plc.

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