Monday, October 17, 2005

Mon - VNU investors arrange showdown meeting

Investors controlling more than 40% of VNU plan to meet the Dutch information company's Chairman on Wednesday to try and halt the company's proposed merger with IMS Health of the US.

Fund managers and institutional investors have cited a number of reasons for blocking the deal, including, execution risk, lack of synergies and VNU's past weak record at integrating acquisitions.

The investors will apparently propose an alternative strategy for the group focussed on improving the performance of the existing businesses and organic growth.

Management at VNU are still stubbornly holding firm on their desire for the deal to go ahead, but there are signs that they're willing to consider various options to salvage the acquisition, including a change in management if the merger goes through. Either way, things are not looking good for embattled CEO of VNU, Rob van den Bergh.

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