The deal values the business at $28 a share, according to the statement, which is 26% higher than Monday’s close. Nielsen rose 21% to $26.88 at 10:11 a.m. in New York trading.
Founded in 1923 as a market measuring firm, New York-based Nielsen provides audience data services to many of the media industry’s premier networks. Led by CEO David Kenny, the company has vied with mixed results to adapt to the growth of streaming in the past decade.
As the television industry transitions further from broadcast and cable, questions about Nielsen’s ability to accurately quantify activity on next-generation media platforms have increased pressure on the company to keep up. In September, an industry council suspended its accreditation of Nielsen’s national ratings service for underreporting viewership during the Covid-19 pandemic.
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This deal came after weeks of haggling over the price. Last week, Nielsen and Windacre Partnership LLC, one of the company’s largest shareholders, rejected a $24.50-per-share offer from the group. Nielsen had said that offer didn’t award shareholders for its growth prospects. Windacre said it didn’t come close to the company’s “intrinsic value” of at least $40 per share. A representative for Windacre declined to comment.
Matthew Thornton, an analyst at Truist Financial Corp. said in a research note that the deal will go through “as-is.” The consortium likely held discussions with Windacre to determine whether the firm will vote for the latest offer, he said.
Activist investor Elliott, run by billionaire Paul Singer, made an initial investment in Nielsen in 2018. The following year, Singer’s firm reduced its stake in the company because of its role in a strategic review. Elliott still owned a 4.6% stake as of Dec. 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Nielsen’s stock has since been hounded by prospects of media clients weighing alternative audience-measurement firms. Nielsen is also facing a lawsuit by networks owned by media mogul Byron Allen that alleges the company’s services are “unreliable” and have cost the industry lost ad revenue.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., Allen & Co. and PJT Partners Inc. advised Nielsen. Evergreen and Brookfield’s advisers were Bank of America Corp., Barclays Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Mizuho Financial Group Inc. HSBC Holdings Plc and Citigroup Inc.
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