Consortium wants to buy Nielsen for $10 billion

Nielsen Holdings NLSN 20.31%

PLC agreed to sell itself to a group of private equity firms in a deal that values ​​the media measurement company at around $10 billion, reviving a deal after talks collapsed last week.

A consortium led by the private equity arm of Elliott Management Corp. and Brookfield Asset Management inc

agreed to pay $28 a share for the company, or $16 billion including debt, Nielsen said Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Tuesday that both sides are close to such a deal.

Nielsen was in advanced discussions with the buyout firms to go private in a deal that would have valued the company at $25.40 per share. But Nielsen turned down the deal on March 20.

WindAcre Partnership LLC, a Houston investment firm that owns about a 10% stake in the company and an additional 14% through swaps, told the company it would buy a stake large enough to block the transaction, when it is completed.

WindAcre was given advance notice of the new deal but has not indicated whether it supports it, people familiar with the matter said. WindAcre declined to comment Tuesday.

The new transaction price represents a roughly 60% premium to Nielsen’s stock price before the Wall Street Journal reported in early March that a transaction was in the works. Nielsen shares rose sharply thereafter and remained elevated after the talks collapsed. Nielsen shares rose 20% on Tuesday to close at $26.72.

The deal is fully funded and includes a 45-day “go-shop” period, allowing Nielsen to solicit bids from other bidders during that time.

Nielsen measures US TV audience ratings, which provide audience ratings that networks use to sell ad time and reassure advertisers that they’re getting what they paid for. Its grip has eased as streaming gains momentum and traditional broadcast and cable television lose viewers. While the New York-based company has rolled out metrics for streaming in recent years, it’s one of many players in the space.

Elliott has held a stake in Nielsen since 2018 when the company was asked to consider a sale. The following year, Nielsen said it would spin off some of its business to create two separate, publicly traded companies: Global Connect, a market analytics firm that measures retail and consumer behavior, and its core media business.

Global Connect was sold to private equity firm Advent International Corp. for nearly $3 billion last year. sold and is now known as NielsenIQ.

Headquartered in Toronto, Brookfield has a presence in more than 30 countries and has approximately $690 billion in assets under management in alternative investment strategies including buyouts, real estate, infrastructure and personal loans.

Elliott, which has around $52 billion under management, is best known for its activist investing but has more recently been active in private equity. The business will be managed through its private equity arm Evergreen Coast Capital Corp.

In January, Evergreen Coast agreed to buy cloud computing company Citrix Systems with a partner inc

the third-biggest deal announced so far this year, according to Dealogic.

The Nielsen deal is among the largest announced so far this year. A slowdown in merger volume due to market volatility has reduced the number of large deals signed.

write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

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Appeared in the March 30, 2022 print edition as “Nielsen Accepts $10 Billion Takeover Offer.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/consortium-near-deal-to-buy-nielsen-for-16-billion-including-debt-11648552533?mod=rss_markets_main Consortium wants to buy Nielsen for $10 billion

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