VNU confirms sale talks, updates financial outlook

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New York—Media company VNU on Wednesday confirmed in a financial statement that it has received “expressions of interest from various parties regarding a possible acquisition of the company” and said its executives and supervisory boards are evaluating this possibility.

The statement comes less than a month after VNU’s proposed merger with IMS Health collapsed after shareholder upheaval, sparking the resignation of CEO Rob van den Bergh and rampant speculation that the company was now ripe for a takeover.

At the same time, VNU updated its financial outlook for the rest of 2005, which is in line with its previously strong outlook for the year. Overall revenues are expected to rise between 5% and 6%, driven by double-digit gains in its Media & Measurement & Information group, which includes Nielsen Media Research.

Organic revenue growth for VNU’s trade magazine group, which includes Adweek and The Hollywood Reporter, are expected to grow roughly 2%, which is half of VNU’s previous guidance of 4% growth. Organic EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the group is expected to grow 5%, with trade shows now accounting for nearly 80% of the group’s profits.

—Matthew Schwartz

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