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NEWS ARCHIVE  
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Private equity consortium launches 7.5 billion euro bid for VNU - 04 Apr 2006

A group of six private equity firms has officially launched its € 7.5 billion (US$9.1 billion) takeover bid for market research firm VNU NV, Netherlands. The Valcon Acquisition BV consortium - comprising AlpInvest Partners, Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Thomas H Lee Partners - has offered a month-long acceptance period.

The offer, which is contingent on 95 percent approval, is scheduled to be discussed on April 18 at the annual shareholders meeting. As per the offer memorandum, Valcon can waive the 95 percent clause and complete the buy if fewer than 60 percent of the total shares are tendered.

The VNU management has framed a 210-page document for shareholders, detailing why it deems the bid the best value compared with other options. However, several large stakeholders, particularly Fidelity International, have emphasised that the price is unacceptable, as it undervalues the company. Fidelity, Templeton Global Advisors and Knight Vinke together hold a 40 percent stake in VNU. The company said that the recent demand from shareholders for a three-way split did not attract any takers. Also, the option would lead to a loss of hundreds of millions of euros in tax benefits.

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Ingenta announces new digitisation capabilities - 04 Apr 2006

Publishing technology provider Ingenta, UK, has announced new digitisation capabilities which enable it to accept hard copy as an entry format to its industry-leading content processing and enhancement services. This follows the successful completion of a pilot with the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW), which recently signed an agreement with the company to add a 12-year backfile to IngentaConnect.

With Ingenta's unique ability to create fully-functional, interlinked backfiles from hard copy, publishers can now retain full control of the electronic content, which can be accessed via IngentaConnect's various licensing models - subscription or pay-per-view at article or issue level. Also, they can gain from the significant savings represented by a combined service that incorporates content enrichment and hosting.

Click here to read the original press release.

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NetLibrary presents 'Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine' as eBook for April - 04 Apr 2006

NetLibrary, the e-content platform of global library cooperative OCLC, Inc., US, has announced that it will feature popular medical textbook, Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, as its April eBook of the Month. The eBook will be provided free and with unlimited access, starting April 1-30 through the home pages of over 13,000 participating libraries.

The new 16th Edition Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine features new, expanded, revised and updated material on key topics related to internal medicine and current controversy of note. Clinicians and students will now be able access online, up-to-the-minute advances in diagnostic and treatment methodologies, and latest research findings.

The NetLibrary eBook of the Month increases awareness of online resources and highlights the value of a library's eBook collection. Every month, NetLibrary selects a new featured title and provides free, unlimited access through the authenticated homepages of more than 13,000 public, academic and special libraries.

Click here to read the original press release.

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'Stem Cells' retracts article by South Korean researchers - 04 Apr 2006

US-based scientific journal Stem Cells has announced that it has formally retracted a paper by Sun Jong Kim and eight other South Korean researchers, originally published in 2004. The paper, titled 'Effects of Type IV Collagen and Laminin on the Cryopreservation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells,' was found to contain questionable, and possibly fraudulent, information. Editor-in-chief Dr. Curt I. Civin had published an "Expression of Concern" in this regard in December 2005.

Senior editors of the journal have assessed information derived during a scientific inquiry of fraud conducted by Seoul National University, and have concluded that the paper in question does not "rise to a reasonable standard of credibility." The editors called for a probe by MizMedi Hospital, Seoul, where the research was conducted and from which the original manuscript was submitted. It was found that no such investigation occurred.

This is the first editorial retraction in the journal's 24-year history.

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Davidoff to serve on interim editorial board of CMAJ - 04 Apr 2006

The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) has announced that Dr. Frank Davidoff, editor emeritus of the Archives of Internal Medicine, has agreed to serve on the interim editorial board of the journal.

CMAJ editor emeritus Dr. Bruce Squires has reportedly assured Dr. Davidoff that a package of governance principles the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has agreed upon will ensure the editorial autonomy of the journal. A panel led by retired chief justice Antonio Lamer is currently studying the issue of the relationship between the CMAJ and the CMA and is expected to make its recommendations on new governance in late June.

Following the February 2006 dismissal of Dr. John Hoey and Anne Marie Todkill, four other editors quit the journal and most of the editorial board resigned. The CMA was widely criticised in editorials and news articles in leading medical journals across the globe for its reported interference in editorial sovereignty.

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'Tissue Engineering' reports on new method to repair damaged heart muscles - 04 Apr 2006

Tissue Engineering, a peer-reviewed journal brought out by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc, US, has published a report in its March 2006 issue on a novel technique for the repair of damaged heart muscles. According to the study, Cardiac cells grown in the laboratory as cell sheets can be layered to form myocardial tissue grafts which, when transplanted into animals, will beat like normal cardiac muscle and can survive and function for at least a year.

The paper titled 'Long-Term Survival and Growth of Pulsatile Myocardial Tissue Grafts Engineered by the Layering of Cardiomyocyte Sheets' is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/ten . This new, cell-based therapeutic strategy is expected to provide an alternative source of heart tissue grafts for transplantation. It is seen to offer advantages over conventional tissue engineering approaches that seed cardiac cells onto biodegradable scaffolds.

A monthly publication, Tissue Engineering brings together scientific and medical experts in the fields of biomedical engineering, material science, molecular and cellular biology and genetic engineering. The journal, available both in print and online, is the official journal of the Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society.

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