VNU terminates planned merger with IMF, CEO to step down

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Haarlem, the Netherlands—VNU NV announced Thursday that it has agreed to terminate its planned $6.9 billion acquisition of IMS Health. VNU called off the deal after shareholders claiming to represent nearly 50% of VNU’s outstanding shares said they would not support the transaction under any circumstances. Due to the upheaval, VNU Chairman-CEO Rob van den Bergh said he will step down once a successor is found.

Under the terms of the termination agreement, VNU will reimburse IMS $15 million for its costs and pay an additional $45 million to IMS should VNU itself be acquired within the next year. IMS will pay VNU $15 million should it be acquired.

VNU said it will now focus on maximizing shareholder value through more cost-cutting initiatives and “enhancing” existing lines of business.

The company will also pursue a listing on the New York Stock Exchange to raise its profile and expand its shareholder base.

—Matthew Schwartz

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