A group of American and European private equity firms have submitted an $8.8 billion offer for VNU NV, the Dutch company that owns Nielsen Media.
The firms offered to pay $34 per share for VNU, which has been in turmoil since November, when some shareholders revolted against a planned takeover of pharmaceutical research company IMS Health for $7 billion. Those shareholders wanted the company to pass on expanding and instead use capital to buy back its own shares. The fight forced the resignation of Chief Executive Rob van den Bergh.
VNU said Monday that the offer came from a group including several U.S. firms, Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, and Thomas H. Lee Partners.
But the price was about where VNU shares have been trading in recent weeks, which disappointed investors expecting a big buyout.
VNU’s primary business is publishing, including media trade magazines The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek and Mediaweek.