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VNU slashes 4,000 jobs and offloads business media

LONDON - Business information giant VNU is slashing 4,000 jobs and selling off its business media, including Computing and Accountancy Age in Europe, as part of a major corporate restructure.

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The Business Media Europe group is being bought by venture capital company 3i. It includes operations in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium. Negotiations to sell the French arm are ongoing.

The UK magazines that are being sold are Accountancy Age, ComputerActive, CRN, Computing, Financial Director, Information World Review, IT Week and Personal Computer World.

VNU has made the decision to sell off Business Media Europe as part of a mass reorganisation, following the appointment of David Calhoun as chief executive earlier this year.

It plans to axe as many as 4,000 jobs over 2007 as part of a plan to cut costs by 10%. Most of the job cuts will come from non-client facing jobs.

The restructure will aim to give VNU's clients a single face to make interaction easier.

Susan Whiting is promoted from the role of president and chief executive of VNU company Nielsen Media Research to chairman of the group and executive vice-president of VNU. She will oversee the media and entertainment businesses, including the titles The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard.

As part of the restructure, Pat Dodd is promoted to president of ACNielsen Europe, taking over from Frank Martell, who previously ran the European business. Martell is leaving the company.

Also leaving the company is Steve Schmidt, president and chief executive of the marketing information group, which is being disbanded.

Calhoun said: "The changes we are making today will help us integrate the media and consumer information that our clients need to succeed."

VNU has been undergoing a period of transformation this year, starting with its privatisation and delisting from the Stock Exchange in summer.

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