Nielsen agrees to sweetened $10-billion offer from private equity group

A worker looks at a television during Black Friday sales at a Target store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. November 29, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

(Reuters) – Nielsen Holdings on Tuesday agreed to go private for $10.06 billion in a sweetened deal with private equity firms led by Elliott Management and Brookfield Asset Management, days after the TV rating firm rejected a bid from the group.

The deal offers $28 for each Nielsen share, a premium of 60% since early March when the deal talks were first reported. Shares of Nielsen jumped about 21% in mid-day trading.

Nielsen had earlier this month rejected an offer of $25.40 per share from the consortium without naming the suitors.

The offer was led by Brookfield and Elliott Management’s tech-focused private equity arm Evergreen Coast Capital Corp, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Nielsen gathers viewership data across TV, radio and digital platforms that are used by advertisers and others to determine prime-time hours, but it has been under pressure as more cord-cutters move to streaming.

“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 at Brookfield Business Partners, which is investing about $2.65 billion in preferred equity.

Activist investor Elliott had pushed Nielsen for a sale in 2018, forcing the market research company to consider splitting into two publicly traded firms a year later.

But the plan was scrapped in 2020 when Nielsen decided to sell its consumer goods data unit for $2.7 billion to sharpen focus on its media business.

Including debt, Tuesday’s deal is valued at $16 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2022.

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