Nielsen Measurement Company Acquired For $16 Billion

Nielsen Holdings said that it completed its sale to a group of private-equity investors led by Elliott Investment Management and Brookfield Business Partners for $16 Billion.

Deal comes before Nielsen One Rollout

The deal is valued at $16 billion, including the assumption of debt.

The change of control happens at a time when media companies and media buyers are more actively exploring alternatives to Nielsen as currency for buying and selling advertising. A significant number of companies are using big data to measure various aspects of the TV business as it shifts from broadcast and cable to streaming.

Nielsen’s legacy measurement system has been challenged by the transition and malfunctioned during the pandemic, resulting in an undercount of viewing and the suspension of Nielsen’s accreditation by the Media Rating Council. Nielsen is in the process of standing up its new system, Nielsen One, which the company said should be available by the end of the year.

“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for Nielsen,” Nielsen CEO David Kenny said. “We are excited for a bright future as a private company. ”This transaction provides significant value to our shareholders and provides the best conditions to execute on our Nielsen One strategy.”

The ad tech and measurement space has been attracting the interest of investors lately, with buyouts and mergers happening more frequently in the sector. 

Elliott has owned a stake in Nielsen since 2018 and was critical about its financial performance in 2020. Pressure from Elliott led to Nielsen cutting costs and selling its Global Connect business for $2.7 billion in 2021.

“Nielsen is a leader in the media industry,” senior portfolio manager Marc Steinberg and senior managing director Isaac Kim said on behalf of Elliott and Evergreen. “Nielsen created the blueprint for audience measurement, and we believe it is in the best position to be the leader in measurement for the streaming era and to continue to provide value for the new media ecosystem.”

“Nielsen is a trusted service provider to its customers,” Brookfield Business Partners managing partner Dave Gregory added. “We look forward to supporting the company’s growth as it continues to lay the groundwork for the future of media.”

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