Private equity consortium offers $8.8 billion for VNU

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Haarlem, the Netherlands—VNU said Monday that it has received a buyout offer valued at about $8.8 billion from a consortium of private equity firms.

The offer, which is nonbinding, follows weeks of due diligence by the consortium, whose members are: AlpInvest Partners, Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Permira and Thomas H. Lee Partners. VNU said it will continue to weigh its options and would provide more information within three or four weeks.

VNU, whose assets include Nielsen Media Research, ACNielsen, Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, became a takeover target late last year after it failed in its effort to acquire health care industry research company IMS Health for $7 billion.

The proposed deal led to a shareholder revolt that eventually cost VNU CEO Ron van den Bergh his job. Shareholders considered the IMS deal too expensive and not in line with VNU’s strategic direction.

—Matthew Schwartz

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