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Nielsen Rejects $9B Takeover Offer

Nielsen
(Image credit: Nielsen)

NEW YORK—Nielsen has announced that its Board of Directors has determined not to proceed with an unsolicited acquisition proposal from a private equity consortium that valued the Company at $25.40 per share or around $9 billion. 

The company said that it believed the consortium “significantly undervalues” the company and did not take into account Nielsen’s growth prospects. 

The company also noted that WindAcre, one of Nielsen’s largest shareholders, would oppose the transaction as it views Nielsen's intrinsic value to be significantly higher than values proposed by the consortium. 

Nielsen cited SEC filings reporting that WindAcre has economic exposure to Nielsen through total return swaps with respect to approximately 51,914,900 shares, or 14.44% of Nielsen's ordinary shares, in addition to its 9.61% common ownership, 

In response to the takeover bid, Nielsen also said that it would begin a $1 billion share repurchasing program. 

In addition, the company said earnings reports show strong revenue progress and that it is on track to deliver new products and achieve MRC reaccredation. 

"We continue to have strong confidence in the management team and Nielsen's strategy to create long-term value for shareholders," said James A. Attwood, chairperson of the Board. "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."

The takeover proposal came at a time when Nielsen has been under heavy fire from the industry for problems with its ratings services. 

Its stock jumped last week on news of the takeover offer but was down about 8% in trading on March 21 at 11:20 a.m. ET. 

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.