Deal: TV Ratings Company Nielsen Sells To Private Equity Consortium For $16B

Another day, another big private equity buyout. This time, it’s Nielsen Holdings (NYSE: NSLN), the American television ratings and marketing data company. The publicly-traded company has accepted a $16bn buyout offer from a private equity consortium led by Brookfield Asset Management and Elliott Management.

  • The consortium will pay $28 in cash for each Nielsen share, amounting to $10bn. It’ll also assume $6bn of debt on Nielsen’s books, making the deal worth $16bn.

 

  • Nielsen received a previous ($14bn) offer from the same consortium but rejected it on the grounds that it undervalued the company. The consortium sweetened its offer by $2bn, and barely a week later, Nielsen accepted it.

 

  • The latest offer represents a 60% premium to Nielsen’s stock price before market speculation regarding a potential takeover drove it up, so it’s easy to see why the company’s board accepted it.

Nielsen’s business entails selling marketing data that help govern billions of dollars in advertising spending, primarily on television. It collates data about what consumers watch and what they buy and sells it to global enterprises, which use them to optimize their advertising spending for the best results.

Nielsen reported a net income of $963mn on $3.5bn in revenue in 2021. A healthy business with a high-profit margin is a typical target for private equity buyers.

  • The two firms leading Nielsen’s buyout are well-known investment firms. Brookfield Asset Management is a Canadian alternative investment manager with $690bn of assets under management. Elliott Management is an American activist investment firm with roughly $52bn under management.

 

  • The consortium will chip in $5.7bn of their own money to finance the acquisition and has arranged debt financing for the remaining $4.3bn.

 

  • The acquisition terms include a 45-day “go-shop” period during which Nielsen can solicit a higher offer. If Nielsen eventually gets one, the competing bidder would bear a $102mn termination fee to the Brookfield and Elliott-led consortium.

If all goes as planned, the acquisition will close in this year’s second half.

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