Nielsen Measures up $10 Billion Acquisition Deal

Dan Meier 30 March, 2022 

Nielsen has been acquired by a private equity group led by Elliott Management and Brookfield Asset Management, after rejecting an offer from the consortium earlier in the month. 

The sweetened deal was accepted at $10.06 billion, a transaction of $28 per share up from the earlier offer of $25.40 per share. Including Nielsen’s debt, the deal will cost a total of over $16 billion. The proposal includes a 45-day “go-shop” period in which Nielsen can consider alternative bids. It is expected to close in the second half of 2022, subject to approval by shareholders, regulators and UK courts.

Alternate currencies 

The measurement firm has recently come under fire, having lost its Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation last year after undercounting TV ratings during the early months of the pandemic. It faces continued criticism over the relevance of its methodology in the face of streaming and mobile viewing, though the company hopes to assuage those concerns in testing a new system called Nielsen ONE, which aims to tabulate linear and digital audiences in tandem.

“After months of deep market analysis, industry diligence and management reviews, we are firmly convinced that Nielsen will continue to be the gold standard for audience measurement as it executes on the Nielsen ONE roadmap,” Elliott managing partner Jesse Cohn and senior portfolio manager Marc Steinberg said in a joint statement.

The announcement comes ahead of the upfront ad sales season, where purchases have historically been based on Nielsen ratings. The emergence of machine data metrics and new players in the measurement sector has seen media companies team up with the likes of iSpot and Samba TV to generate “alternate currencies” for the ad-sales market to better inform their decision-making.

Citing the company’s iconic status, the new investors reiterated their confidence in Nielsen’s value to the industry. “Nielsen is deeply embedded in the media ecosystem and a trusted service provider to its customers,” said Brookfield Business Partners managing partner Dave Gregory. “As a private company, Nielsen will be even better positioned to deliver the best measures of consumers’ rapidly changing behaviours across all channels and platforms.”

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