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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 13:08 GMT
VNU media group agrees to buyout
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VNU shareholders are yet to accept the offer
Dutch media giant VNU has accepted a 7.5bn euro (5.1bn) buyout bid from a group of six private investors.

The offer by the consortium, which includes the Blackstone Group and the Carlyle Group, is higher than the 7.3bn euro offer originally made in January.

However, it remains unclear whether shareholders, who have been critical of the deal, will accept it.

The deal is a turnaround for VNU, which planned to double in size by buying healthcare data provider IMS last year.

Shareholders rejected the $6.8bn (5.7bn euro) bid made in November for IMS, forcing the company to consider other options.

Rob van den Bergh, the company's chief executive, said the latest offer was the direct result of shareholders rejecting the earlier IMS deal.

The latest proposal puts VNU shares at $34.26 (28.75 euros), a rise of 23% compared to last July, before the unsuccessful IMS proposal.

Mr Van den Bergh, who had previously promised to resign following the collapse of the IMS deal, now says he expects to leave after this latest buyout is complete.

The board of VNU, which is the world's largest market research company and has 38,000 employees, has unanimously accepted the offer.

The company is best known for its business magazine titles.

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