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Déjà VNU

Financial Times: Déjà VNU

“Having backed down to the demands of disgruntled shareholders at Royal Dutch Shell, Aad Jacobs, the oil company’s non-executive chairman, is expending energy on smoothing problems at another of his charges: VNU.”: “Among those questioning the timing and rationale of one of the largest acquisitions attempted by a Dutch company is Eric Knight. It was his fund management company, Knight Vinke, that led calls for change at Shell.”

Published: September 30 2005

Having backed down to the demands of disgruntled shareholders at Royal Dutch Shell, Aad Jacobs, the oil company’s non-executive chairman, is expending energy on smoothing problems at another of his charges: VNU.

The Dutch publisher and business information company’s planned €5.8bn takeover of IMS Health, a US-based pharmaceutical data gatherer, has run into investor opposition.

Among those questioning the timing and rationale of one of the largest acquisitions attempted by a Dutch company is Eric Knight. It was his fund management company, Knight Vinke, that led calls for change at Shell.

Now Knight has renewed his acquaintance with Jacobs, chairman of VNU. Even before the deal was announced, he had dashed off a letter to the chairman voicing concern at the damage to shareholders from a mega-acquisition. Clearly the writing was on the wall.

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