Reed Elsevier talks with investment firm

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Reed Elsevier Co-Chairman Ian Irvine huddled with James Wilson, managing director of investment company Boston Ventures, on May 18, sparking speculation the Anglo-Dutch media giant may be taking the first steps toward divesting some U.S. assets. The meeting was arranged through the London offices of Goldman, Sachs & Co. Boston Ventures--a past owner of trade publishers Bill Communications and BPI Communications before selling at a hefty profit--recently raised its U.S. investment profile by agreeing to pay $1 billion to Time Warner for 51% of Six Flags Amusement Parks. The talks have sparked speculation that Reed Elsevier's Cahners Publishing Co. may be spun off.

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