updated 11/7/2005 7:53:09 AM ET 2005-11-07T12:53:09

Dutch media company VNU NV said Monday it is considering scrapping its planned acquisition of U.S. health care data provider IMS Health Inc. for 5.8 billion euros ($6.92 billion) due to opposition from VNU shareholders.

VNU, known for Nielsen's Ratings in the United States, said in a statement it was in wide-ranging discussions with IMS Health after shareholders claiming to represent 48 percent of VNU's outstanding shares said they would "not support the transaction under any circumstances."

VNU announced its intention to acquire IMS Health in July in a cash-and-stock transaction that was supposed to close in the first quarter of 2006. But VNU said it was now considering "a revised merger agreement as well as termination of the agreement."

Despite the reluctance of shareholders, the Dutch company said it would continue to move forward with the transaction.

Doubt over the takeover was raised last month by stockholders and analysts.

The opponents, who include Templeton Global Advisors, Fidelity Investments International and Knight Vinke Asset Management, said the acquisition is too risky, and they call VNU's offer of $11.25 in cash and 0.6 of a VNU share for each IMS share too high.

Conneticut-based IMS, which operates in the pharmaceutical and health care sector, sells clients information on how their products are used, and therefore matches the profile of other VNU units. The company earned $30.3 million on $411 million in sales in the first quarter, up 11 percent from a year earlier.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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