London—VNU NV and IMS Health may call off their proposed merger in its current form and are debating whether to break off the deal altogether because of heavy shareholder opposition, the Financial Times
reported. VNU met last week with investors who expressed opposition to the company’s plan to acquire the U.S.-based health industry researcher for $6.9 billion. Investors representing more than 40% of the company’s stock have come out against the deal, according to the Financial Times
. Rob Garrett, founder-managing director of media investment bank AdMedia Partners, said VNU shareholders think the deal “may be a deterrent to a better stock price. A lot depends on how much strength shareholders have [to sink the deal] and how determined the board is to make it stick.” Garrett added that he could see VNU selling off its b-to-b properties “because they’re ‘noncore’ “ to what is now primarily a research-based information provider.