ACNielsen sold for $2.3 billion

VNU, the Dutch-based publishing group is all set to expand its operations in the US. It has made a successful $2.3 billion bid for ACNielsen, the US-based market research company, whose television rating arm, Nielsen Media Research, was already bought over by VNU for $2.5 billion in 1999. This is part of the Dutch group's strategy to expand from being an European newspaper and magazine publisher to a global provider of business and marketing information. ACNielsen is best known for its retail data audits in the US and more than 80 other countries around the world.

Under the deal, which is to be finalised by the first quarter of next year, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, VNU will be paying $36.75 in cash for every ACNielsen share. The offer represents a 33-per-cent premium over ACNielsen's last closing share price.

The $2.8 billion revenue Dutch group, which employs over 16,000 people, has been looking to diversify into areas which are less likely to be hit by recession. In July this year, VNU also bought Miller Freeman, a US publisher and organiser of trade shows, for $650 million.