Dutch publisher VNU has terminated its $7 billion plan to take over IMS Health, both companies confirmed.
"Several of VNU's major shareholders have made it clear, for a variety of reasons, they did not want to pursue any large merger at this time," said IMS CEO/president David Carlucci in a statement.
"While we regret that the merger with VNU will not happen, our business is strong." VNU CEO Rob van den Bergh said, "Having heard the views of our shareholders, it became clear that it
would not be possible for us to proceed with the proposed merger." In a statement announcing the cancellation of the deal, van den Bergh added that he planned to step down from his CEO post. It was unclear at press time whether his resignation was directly related to the dissolution of the merger.
VNU has agreed to reimburse IMS $15 million for its actual out-ofpocket costs related to merger planning, and an additional $45 million should VNU be acquired in the next 12 months. For its part, IMS has agreed to return the $15 million payment to VNU if IMS is acquired in
the next 12 months. Since the deal was announced in July, VNU shareholders reacted negatively to the merger plan. Nearly half of VNU shareholders said they wouldn't vote for the deal under any circumstances, essentially dooming the deal before it could reach a full vote.