Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

The debt-ridden private equity owners of the Nine Entertainment Co. are poised to sell the ACP Magazines division after meeting with potential buyers including Germany’s Bauer Media Group, the Sydney Daily Telegraph reports. That suggests the rumored $A3 billion ($3.1 billion) offer for Nine Entertainment from former Hollywood MGM mogul Harry Sloan and U.S. private equity group TPG hasn’t developed. A source close to Nine Entertainment tells Deadline that Sloan-TPG were “tirekickers” who were never going to make a serious bid.

ACP publishes 52 titles in Australia which sell nearly 100 million copies each year. They include The Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, DOLLY, NW, TV Week, CLEO, Cosmopolitan, Australian Gourmet Traveller, madison, Australian House & Garden and Top Gear Australia. Nine’s owner CVC Asia Pacific bought the media company, which includes the free-to-air Eastern States Nine Network, the Allphones Arena in Sydney and a 50% share in NineMSN, from James Packer for $5.5 billion in 2007. CVC has been struggling under a heavy debt load and must refinance $2.8 billion in debt before loan agreements expire in February. Highly paced sources at ACP confirmed to The Australian newspaper the company has had talks with Bauer and a range of other possible suitors but no deal has been reached.

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