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Dutch media giant VNU acquires U.S. health care data provider

IMS Health Inc. sold for $7 billion

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut - Dutch media company VNU, in the U.S. the owner of such firms as Nielsen Media Research, will acquire Fairfield-based health care data provider IMS Health Inc., a leader in its field. The transaction whereby IMS stockholders are offered cash and stock in VNU (Verenigde Nederlandse Uitgeverijen, United Dutch Publishers), is valued at close to $7 billion, making it one of the biggest consolidations in the growing industry of data collection.

The purchase, expected to close early next year, will be VNUís largest since buying the Nielsen television ratings provider in 2001. Although based in the Netherlands, VNU ears the majority of its revenue from U.S. subsidiaries, where it employs nearly 13,000 staff. It also publishes trade magazines like Adweek and The Hollywood Reporter.

IMS sells clients information on how their products are used, and therefore matches the profile of other VNU units. The company had $411 million in sales in the first quarter of this year.

The IMS deal will shift VNUís activities further away from publishing to a virtually dedicated media research company in the United States. The acquisition reunites Nielsen and IMS, which were both previously owned by Dun & Bradstreet Corp. until it split in 1996.