Cengage, Bain, Apollo final suitors for McGraw unit -sources

NEW YORK, Oct 10 (Reuters) - McGraw-Hill Companies Inc's

education unit is expected to draw final bids fromprivate equity firms Bain Capital and Apollo Global Management

as well as rival Cengage Learning Inc, in a deal thatcould fetch around $3 billion, several people familiar with thematter said.

Cengage, the No. 2 U.S. college textbook publisher, and thetwo private equity firms are working on final offers forMcGraw-Hill Education, the world's second-largest educationcompany by sales, with the bids due later in October, the peoplesaid.

McGraw-Hill, which is running the auction as an alternativeto its planned spin-off of the business, wants to get more than$3 billion and could still decide against a sale if the bidsfail to meet its price expectations, the people said.

Other private equity firms that submitted initial bids thissummer, such as Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Providence EquityPartners, dropped out because the asking price was too high,according to the people familiar with the matter.

McGraw-Hill, Cengage, Apollo, THL and Providence declined tocomment. Bain did not immediately respond to requests forcomment.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim, Nadia Damouni and Greg Roumeliotisin New York)

((soyoung.kim@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 646 223 6033))