Nielsen Holdings agrees to sell to private equity consortium in $16B deal
Image via AP.

Nielsen's board unanimously approved the deal.

Nielsen Holdings PLC, one of the largest tech employers in Tampa Bay, has reached an agreement to sell for $16 billion, including debt, to a group of private equity firms.

The company reached the deal after it rejected a smaller offer earlier this month, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The deal values the company at around $10 billion in cash.

The group of private equity investors that came to a deal with Nielsen Holdings were led by Evergreen Coast Capital Corp., an affiliate of Elliott Investment Management L.P., and Brookfield Business Partners L.P. Those investors, along with institutional partners will pay $28 for each outstanding Nielsen share.

Brookfield Business Partners will invest approximately $2.65 billion via preferred equity, convertible into 45% of Nielsen’s common equity.

As a marketing measurement firm, Nielsen collects data and releases it to advertisers to help them determine where to direct marketing dollars, having an annual global revenue of about $3.5 billion. Nielsen operates in more than 100 countries and employs around 44,000 people internationally.

“After a thorough assessment, the Board determined that this transaction represents an attractive outcome for our shareholders by providing a cash takeout at a substantial premium, while supporting Nielsen’s commitment to our clients, employees and stakeholders. The Consortium sees the full potential of Nielsen’s leadership position in the media industry and the unique value we deliver for our clients worldwide,” said James A. Attwood, chairperson of Nielsen’s Board of Directors.

Although the company is based in New York, it’s one of Tampa Bay’s largest tech employers. The company previously turned down an earlier offer from the group, arguing it undervalued the business. That offer was worth $25.40 per share, or about $9 billion before the assumption of debt, according to a report from The Associated Press. Shares of Nielsen went up 22% at the opening bell following the deal.

Nielsen’s board unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close in the second half of this year, once it gets a thumbs up from shareholders and regulators.

“Nielsen is deeply embedded in the media ecosystem and a trusted service provider to its customers. As a private company, Nielsen will be even better positioned to deliver the best measures of consumers’ rapidly changing behaviors across all channels and platforms,” said Dave Gregory, managing partner for Brookfield Business Partners. “We are pleased to invest in this iconic company and help lead the industry into the next generation of audience measurement.”

Nielsen does have a 45-day period where it can look at and accept other offers, but breaking the agreement with the private equity group will cost the company a $102 million termination fee, according to The Associated Press.

The company is expected to launch a new market measuring tool — Nielsen One — by the end of the year in order to address the growing number of streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu. That new metric, according to The Associated Press, can deliver more comprehensive metrics across platforms ranging from traditional televisions to a host of other digital and streaming services.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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