VNU is to shed 4,000 jobs and sell off its European B2B division Business Media Europe to private equity group and venture capital company 3i.
BME publishes more than 70 business to business titles in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain specialising mainly in technology, business and finance and recruitment.
Its magazines include Computing, Computable, Accountancy Age and Management Team and the company also produces e-media and websites including VNU.net.
The job losses, which aim to reduce company costs, will amount to around 10 per cent of VNU's staff worldwide.
VNU employs around 42,000 people in more than 100 countries with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands and New York.
A VNU spokesman told Press Gazette: "The restructuring and ten per cent reduction in our cost base and the possible lay off of up to 4,000 people is in no way connected to the sale of BME. That sale was a strategic sale we made based on the lack of synergies we saw between that business and our core marketing and media information businesses."
The spokesman said the company would not specify how many of the 4,000 jobs would be in editorial but said: "More of the job cuts would be in areas away from client-facing positions."
VNU's new CEO David Calhoun said: "The changes we are announcing today are an important first step in our efforts to make this extremely strong global franchise even more competitive, and to improve the ways we serve our clients worldwide.
"This strategy – and supporting structure – give us the flexibility and speed we need to respond to evolving market imperatives and access more of the resources we need to continue investing aggressively for the future. It accelerates our transformation into a single, truly integrated operating company that is focused completely on providing our clients with the products and expertise they need to succeed."
President and CEO of Nielsen Media Research Susan Whiting will become executive vice president of VNU overseeing product innovation, research and development, and marketing reporting directly to Calhoun.
Calhoun added: "We operate our businesses in markets that are becoming more complex, and more fragmented, and more technology-driven than ever. The changes we are making today will help us integrate the media and consumer information that our clients need to succeed. We have outstanding capabilities in our businesses and the right leadership in place, and I am confident that we will move forward to set new standards of innovation and success."
VNU reported third quarter operating income this year of £48.3 million, down 29 per cent from the same period last year.