Media measuring company Nielsen to be acquired in $16B deal

FILE - Alabama fans react as they watch television coverage of the College Football Playoff national championship game against Georgia, Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Brookfield Business Partners is boosting its buyout offer for Nielsen Holdings, Tuesday, March 29, 2022, to about $16 billion after the TV ratings and marketing data company rejected a $9 billion takeover bid. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File) (Vasha Hunt, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – Nielsen is being acquired for $16 billion, 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.

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A group of private equity investors led by Evergreen Coast Capital Corp., an affiliate of Elliott Investment Management L.P., and Brookfield Business Partners L.P. 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. The equity version of the deal is worth just over $10 billion in cash, with the remainder in debt held by Nielsen.

Brookfield said Tuesday that it anticipates investing approximately $600 million, with the remaining balance funded from institutional partners.

Nielsen Holdings Plc, 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 per share, or about $9 billion before the assumption of debt. After it accepted the revised over, shares of Nielsen jumped 22% at the opening bell. The stock ended regular trading up 20.3% at $26.72 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 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 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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