A consortium of private equity firms including Elliott Management Corp. is reportedly in talks to acquire Nielsen Holdings for approximately US$15 billion including debt, The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to WSJ , the deal could be completed "within weeks" and could potentially be a "substantial" one. Nonetheless, it is not guaranteed that there will be a deal and talks could still dissolve. Nielsen's shares reportedly rose more than 30% on Monday to US$22.85 a share following reports of the talks. Nielsen declined to comment on market rumours or speculation.
In 2018, Elliott Management Corp bought an 8.4% stake in Nielsen, which according to the WSJ back then, was worth about US$660 million. Several private equity firms also previously expressed interest in Nielsen. In April 2020, Nielsen entered into an agreement with Elliott Management Corp which saw the former agreeing to increase the size of its board of directors and appoint media veteran Jonathan Miller to the board. According to an SEC filing, Elliott had a 13% economic interest in Nielsen at that time.
In November that same year, Nielsen sold its global connect business to private equity firm Advent International for US$2.7 billion. Nielsen Global Connect offers retailers with data and insights to turn market observations into business decisions and is now known as Nielsen IQ. Nielsen CEO David Kenny said back then that proceeds from the sale will allow Nielsen to "significantly reduce debt", which will provide greater financial flexibility to execute its growth strategy and expand Nielsen's role in the global media marketplace.
This is not the first time Nielsen has been acquired by a group of private equity firms. In 2006, the company was bought by a consortium of private equity firms including Blackstone, Carlyle Group, KKR & GO, and Thomas H. Lee Partners before going public again in 2011, WSJ said.
Separately on the branding front, the company refreshed its brand , moving away from the blue and grey logo to unveil a new look and feel inspired by the universal play button. The new logo sees the forms come together to subtly create the letter "N" in the negative space; which signifies insights revealed by Nielsen’s data and the constant momentum in media. Additionally, the multitude of colours speak to the diversity and richness in media representing or containing a piece of data, a piece of music, a show, a content creator, or a member of the audience - all working together to move media forward.
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