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VNU to Buy Stake in Web Research Firm

January 18, 2006|From Associated Press

AMSTERDAM — Dutch publisher VNU said Tuesday that it would take a majority stake in Internet research firm BuzzMetrics Inc.

The announcement came a day after VNU received a takeover bid worth as much as $8.87 billion from a group of private equity firms. VNU's management has not said whether it will endorse Monday's takeover offer, and shareholders have said they need time to consider its merits.

Financial terms of Tuesday's BuzzMetrics deal were not disclosed. VNU is best known as owner of Nielsen's TV ratings, but it also does Internet ratings.

The VNU takeover bid by a consortium including AlpInvest Partners, Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Thomas H. Lee Partners amounts to $34 to $34.60 a share, VNU said, an amount some analysts said appeared too low.

VNU became a takeover target last year after its $6.8-billion bid to buy IMS Health Inc. fell apart amid a rebellion from VNU shareholders including Knight Vinke Asset Management.

VNU said that it would own 50.1% of BuzzMetrics and that the company would operate under the trade name Nielsen BuzzMetrics.

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