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Monday, January 16, 2006

VNU Offer 

VNU On The Shelves

My friend Hugo Martin points to a VNU press release (linked above) announcing a buyout offer from a consortium "consisting of AlpInvest Partners, The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Permira and Thomas H. Lee Partners" at 28 to 28.5 euros per share. (They're currently trading around 28 euros).

Reuters says the deal could be valued at as much as $8.8 billion, but that "[a]nalysts at Kempen brokerage said not only was the offer clearly disappointing but that also it was negative that VNU was not in discussions with any other party."

The purchase price may yet be bumped up:

...Rabo analyst Slob said it would not be surprising if the bid were raised to at least 29 to 30 euros per share. Other private equity players such as Apax, Bain Capital and CVC are still interested in VNU, he added.

By my estimates, VNU should clock in about $600 million in EBITDA this year (adjusted for failed IMS transaction costs), which would give the business an estimated 14.6 trailing multiple at the current offer.

And given the consortium making the bid (especially Blackstone and Hellman & Friedman), I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Bob Krakoff ended up playing a significant role in all or part of VNU's operations, should this deal close.

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