NEWS27 June 2014

VNU bidders mull Experian takeover offer

Two of the seven private equity firms bidding for VNU are reportedly preparing an offer for Experian

Hellman & Friedman and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) – two of the private equity firms involved in the $8.8bn bid for VNU – are reportedly readying an offer for market research owner and database giant Experian.

According to the Sunday Times, the US firms are in the early stages of putting together a $10.5bn bid for the company, which has acquired America’s Simmons Market Research Bureau and The Future Foundation in the UK in the past two years.

Experian is already being prepared for a long-mooted demerger from its parent company GUS, which also owns the UK retail chains Argos and Homebase.

All parties have so far refused to comment on the possibility of a private equity bid.

Meanwhile Hellman & Friedman and KKR, in partnership with five other investment firms, are continuing discussions with VNU management regarding a takeover of the ACNielsen and Nielsen Media Research owner.

In a statement, VNU said that its supervisory and executive boards are expected to provide their views on the offer by the end of this month.

Yesterday, supervisory board chairman Aad Jacobs and the VNU executive board met with Eric Knight of Knight Vinke Asset Management (KVAM), the minority shareholder influential in scuppering VNU’s planned takeover of IMS Health late last year.

Knight requested the meeting to present the findings of KVAM’s own operational and strategic review of VNU, commissioned in the wake of the IMS deal’s collapse.