Nielsen Rejects Roughly $9 Billion Takeover Offer From Private-Equity Consortium


Nielsen CEO David Kenny in 2019


Paul Miller/Bloomberg News

Nielsen Holdings

NLSN 2.17%

PLC rejected a roughly $9 billion takeover offer from a private-equity consortium, saying that it undervalues the TV-ratings company.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Elliott Management Corp. was part of a private-equity group in advanced talks to buy Nielsen for roughly $15 billion including debt. Nielsen said Sunday it wouldn’t proceed with a bid that would have valued the company at $25.40 a share, without naming members of the consortium.

Nielsen said that WindAcre Partnership LLC, which has a roughly 10% stake and additional exposure of 14% through swaps, had told the company that if it were to accept the proposal, the Houston investment firm would block the transaction. Nielsen said WindAcre was considering joining the buyer group but ultimately decided against it, believing the proposal undervalued the company.

Nielsen also said it intends to start $1 billion worth of previously approved share repurchases when the window to do so opens, likely after the company’s earnings report scheduled for April 21.

A deal was expected to be announced soon, according to people familiar with the matter. It is possible the talks could resume.

Nielsen had a market value of around $6.2 billion before the Journal’s report, having fallen this year. That has since risen to around $8.8 billion in anticipation of a deal. The shares closed Friday at $24.44.

Nielsen measures U.S. TV ratings, which provide audience estimates that networks use to sell commercial time and reassure advertisers they got what they paid for. But its hold has been loosening as streaming gains steam and traditional broadcast and cable TV lose viewers. While the New York-based company has introduced metrics for streaming in recent years, it is one of many players in that field.

Write to Cara Lombardo at

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Appeared in the March 21, 2022, print edition as ‘Nielsen Spurns Deal Valued at $9 Billion.’

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