The board of beleaguered Dutch media and research giant VNU agreed Tuesday to accept an acquisition offer in the region of $8.5 billion (€7.15bn; £4.90bn) from a slimmed-down group of private equity firms.

The six-strong purchasing consortium - US firms Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Thomas H Lee Partners plus Netherlands-based AlpInvest Partners - has shed a seventh member, Permira Advisers of the UK for reasons unstated.

VNU is the holding company for the globe's largest research group ACNielsen plus an international conference and exhibitions division and a stable of business publications including the Hollywood Reporter and Billboard.

A formal announcement is expected today (Wednesday). While it is certain that the VNU board has conducted soundings with the group's main investors, it remains to be seen whether a majority of stockholders believe the price is right.

An earlier offer of €7.2bn was widely criticized as undervaluing the group.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff