Hearst Corp. has made a preliminary offer of £700 million ($1.4 billion) for the consumer division of Emap ( LSE: EMA ), reports the FT. Apax Partners is reported to be the “front runner” for the B2B division, estimated to be worth around £1.2 billion ($2.4 billion). Last Friday was the deadline for preliminary bids for Emap’s assets, based on a memorandum sent out by the publisher in September. The consumer division is the unit that encompasses the retail magazines and their respective Web sites. Hearst, the owner of NatMags, is currently the third-largest publisher in the U.K. behind Time Warner’s ( NYSE: TWX ) IPC and Emap. More details and background at paidContent:UK.