VNU Accepts $9 Bil. Offer

NEW YORK VNU, owner of Nielsen Media Research, AC Nielsen and Adweek, among other publications, said today that it had accepted a deal to sell the company to a group of six buyout firms for about $9 billion in cash.

The final bid, subject to 95 percent shareholder approval, is slightly higher than the original bid made by the consortium in February.

The group of investors, AlpInvest Partners, The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Thomas H. Lee Partners, said they intend to keep VNU “substantially together as an integrated company” for at least 18 months after the close of the deal in mid-May.

“Based on a long and careful analysis of various alternatives, including remaining a stand-alone company and breaking up the company, we concluded that this transaction best serves the interests of VNU’s shareholders, clients and employees,” said Aad Jacobs, chairman of VNU’s supervisory board.

The sale of the Netherlands-based VNU follows a revolt late last year by shareholders over VNU’s agreement to purchase IMS Health for about $7 billion. In November, the deal was scrapped, leading to the resignation of Rob van den Bergh, the company’s chairman and CEO.

With the current sale pending, van den Bergh will remain in his position until the deal closes.