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VNU, will cut 4,000 jobs in 2007

AMSTERDAM (AP) _ VNU Group BV, which owns Nielsen’s television ratings service, said Monday it will cut 4,000 jobs, or around 10 per cent of its workforce, as part of a major reorganization.

VNU was purchased by a consortium of private-equity investors in May for 7.7 billion euros (US$9.7 billion) after a takeover struggle.

Since the buyout, VNU has established dual headquarters in New York and the Dutch city of Haarlem. The company didn’t say where the layoffs will fall, but most of its operations are in the United States.

In addition to the well-known television rating service, VNU operates a marketing information arm and a publishing arm known for producing Billboard, Adweek and Hollywood Reporter magazines.

In 2005, VNU employed 42,000 people and had sales of 3.5 billion euros. The company said the job cuts were needed to trim costs as it simplifies the organization’s structure.

The consortium that bought VNU was comprised of AlpInvest Partners NV, The Blackstone Group LP, The Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP, and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.

In October, VNU offered to buy the 40 per cent of NetRatings Inc., a rating service for websites, that it doesn’t already own for about $225.6 million.