Nielsen rejects US$15 billion takeover approach

James A. Attwood

Ad measurement firm Nielsen has rejected a takeover approach from a private equity firm.

A consortium including Elliott Management last week proposed a deal to acquire Nielsen for US$25.40 per share (a net sale value of around US$15 billion including debt) while valuing the company at US$9.13 billion.

Elliott, which is one of Nielsen’s top ten shareholders with a 4.6% stake, had previously pushed for a sale in 2018 and subsequently forced it to consider splitting into two companies in 2019. 

Nielsen however has issued a statement rejecting the unsolicited takeover approach, saying that the deal would undervalue the company.

In a statement, the company said: “Nielsen’s Board unanimously determined that the Consortium’s offer significantly undervalues the Company and does not adequately compensate shareholders for Nielsen’s growth prospects. 

“As Nielsen’s 2021 financial results demonstrate, the Company is achieving strong revenue growth while making significant progress in new product development and MRC reaccreditation.”

The statement also noted that, upon consultation with one of its largest shareholders WindAcre, a sale would “be highly unlikely to receive shareholder approval.”

In addition to rebuffing the takeover approach, Nielsen said that it plans on commencing a previously approved US$1 billion share repurchase authorisation. 

Nielsen board chairperson James A. Attwood said: “We continue to have strong confidence in the management team and Nielsen’s strategy to create long-term value for shareholders. We are always open to exploring any avenue to create value for shareholders, but the Board is in agreement with WindAcre, one of our largest shareholders, that the Consortium’s proposal significantly undervalues the Company. Further reflecting our confidence in the Company, we plan to commence share repurchases, which we expect to be an important element of our ongoing balanced capital allocation strategy.”

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