An investor group that consists of Elliott Investment Management’s Evergreen Coast Capital Corp and Brookfield Business Partners has agreed to acquire Nielsen Holdings, a New York-based audience measurement, data and analytics business, for $28 per share. The all-cash deal is valued at about $16 billion, including the assumption of debt. It is expected to close in the second half of 2022.
NEW YORK, March 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) (“Nielsen”) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by a private equity consortium (“Consortium”) led by Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation (“Evergreen”), an affiliate of Elliott Investment Management L.P. (“Elliott”), and Brookfield Business Partners L.P. together with institutional partners (collectively “Brookfield”) for $28 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $16 billion, including the assumption of debt.
The Nielsen Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the acquisition proposal, which represents a 10% premium over the Consortium’s previous proposal and a 60% premium over Nielsen’s unaffected stock price as of March 11, 2022, the last trading day before market speculation regarding a potential transaction. The Board reached this determination following a comprehensive review of the proposal, with the assistance of its independent financial and legal advisors.
“After a thorough assessment, the Board determined that this transaction represents an attractive outcome for our shareholders by providing a cash takeout at a substantial premium, while supporting Nielsen’s commitment to our clients, employees and stakeholders. The Consortium sees the full potential of Nielsen’s leadership position in the media industry and the unique value we deliver for our clients worldwide,” said James A. Attwood, Chairperson of Nielsen’s Board of Directors.
“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,” said Managing Partner Jesse Cohn and Senior Portfolio Manager Marc Steinberg on behalf of Evergreen and Elliott.
“Having first invested in Nielsen nearly four years ago, we have a unique appreciation for the Company’s ongoing relevance to the global, digital-first media ecosystem. Today’s outcome represents a significant win for Nielsen’s shareholders and for the business itself, as our multibillion-dollar investment will help Nielsen reinforce its transformation at this critical inflection point. We are pleased to partner with David and the existing management team to lead Nielsen after the transaction is completed.”
“Nielsen is deeply embedded in the media ecosystem and a trusted service provider to its customers. As a private company, Nielsen will be even better positioned to deliver the best measures of consumers’ rapidly changing behaviors across all channels and platforms,” commented Dave Gregory, Managing Partner, Brookfield Business Partners. “We are pleased to invest in this iconic company and help lead the industry into the next generation of audience measurement.”
The Consortium has secured fully committed debt and equity financing, including an approximately $5.7 billion equity commitment from the Consortium consisting of Evergreen and Brookfield. There are no financing conditions to the closing of the transaction.
The transaction is subject to approval by Nielsen shareholders, regulatory approvals, consultation with the works council and other customary closing conditions. The transaction will also be subject to UK court approval pursuant to a scheme of arrangement.
Alternatively, pursuant to the agreement, the parties may elect instead to complete the transaction pursuant to an agreed-upon tender offer. If the closing conditions are met, the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2022.
The Company no longer intends to commence share repurchases under the Board’s previously approved authorization.
The transaction agreement provides for a “go-shop” period, during which Nielsen – with the assistance of its financial advisors, J.P. Morgan and Allen & Company, and its legal advisors – will actively solicit, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative acquisition proposals. The go-shop period expires 45 days after Nielsen’s entry into the transaction agreement. Following that period, Nielsen will be permitted to continue discussions and enter into or recommend a transaction with any person or group that submitted a qualifying proposal during the 45-day period, if the Board determines the proposal is superior to this transaction. A competing bidder who makes a superior proposal would bear a $102 million (1% percent of equity value) termination fee that is payable by Nielsen if Nielsen terminates the transaction agreement with the Consortium to accept such superior proposal.