After rejecting $15bn offer, Nielsen accepts $16bn from private equity group

TV measurement firm Nielsen has been bought out by a consortium of private equity firms in a $16bn all-cash deal just one week after its board rejected a buyout offer.

Nielsen’s new owners are led by Evergreen Coast Capital Corp (an offshoot of Elliott Management) and Brookfield Business Partners, which will be expected to turn around Nielsen’s fortunes following numerous measurement scandals.

After rejecting a $15bn offer led initially by Elliott Management, the chair of Nielsen’s board of directors James A Attwood said: “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.”

He added that Nielsen’s new owners “see the full potential of Nielsen’s leadership position in the media industry and the unique value we deliver for our clients worldwide.”

Despite a growing distrust in Nielsen’s measurement system after the business faced accusations of inaccuracy, Brookfield Business Partners maintained Nielsen is a “trusted service provider to its customers.”

Dave Gregory, managing partner at Brookfield, said: “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.”

Confidence in the deal sent Nielsen’s stocks up 20% to nearly $26 per share.

The TV ad sector will be looking for its new owners to invest in updating Nielsen’s panel-based system and accelerate the rollout of its fledgling Nielsen One measurement system.