Media Ratings Company Nielsen to Be Acquired in $16 Billion Deal by Consortium of Private Equity Investors

Nielsen is being acquired for $16 billion (roughly Rs. 1,21,160 crore), including debt, about a week after the media measurement company rejected a smaller offer earlier this month. Viewing data collected by Nielsen plays a big role in determining where billions in advertising dollars are spent each year. The company itself has annual global revenue of about $3.5 billion (roughly Rs. 26,500 crore).

A group of private equity investors led by Evergreen Coast Capital, an affiliate of Elliott Investment Management, and Brookfield Business Partners along with institutional partners will pay $28 (roughly Rs. 2,100) for each outstanding Nielsen share.

Brookfield Business Partners will invest approximately $2.65 billion (roughly Rs. 20,070 crore) via preferred equity, convertible into 45 percent of Nielsen’s common equity. The equity version of the deal is worth just over $10 billion (roughly Rs. 75,700 crore) in cash, with the remainder in debt held by Nielsen.

Brookfield said Tuesday that it anticipates investing approximately $600 million (roughly Rs. 4,550 crore), with the remaining balance funded from institutional partners.

Nielsen, based in New York City, turned down the group’s previous offer, saying it had significantly undervalued the business. That offer was worth $25.40 (roughly Rs. 1,920) per share, or about $9 billion (roughly Rs. 68,150 crore) before the assumption of debt. After it accepted the revised over, shares of Nielsen jumped 22 percent at the opening bell. The stock ended regular trading up 20.3 percent at $26.72 (roughly Rs. 2,020) per share.

Nielsen has come under criticism for failing to create new methods of capturing the amount of time people spend watching streaming services, such as Netflix or Hulu. It has become a much more complex task as people now load content on to phones, tablets, and other smart devices.

Nielsen is attempting to address those complaints and is expected to launch a new cross-media measurement tool by the end of the year. Nielsen One, according to the company, can deliver more comparable and comprehensive metrics across platforms ranging from traditional televisions to a host of other digital and streaming services.

The board at Nielsen has voted unanimously in support of the revised offer, and the company will go private if the transaction closes.

However, there is a 45 day go-shop period during which Nielsen can look at and accept other offers, but breaking the agreement with the private equity group comes with a $102 million (roughly Rs. 770 crore) termination fee.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year. It still needs approval from Nielsen shareholders and regulators.

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