NEWS11 January 2011

Nielsen starts wooing investors to back $1.5bn IPO

Financials North America

US— Nielsen, the consumer and media research giant, is to begin wooing investors this week to back its initial public offering, which puts 20% of the company up grabs in the hopes of raising $1.5bn to pay down debt.

Almost 71.5m shares make up the offering, with the stock expected to be priced between $20 and $22 per share. At the mid-price point, this would net Nielsen $1.4bn, with a further $240m expected to be raised via a bond offering.

Nielsen says it will use nearly all the proceeds of the IPO to pay off some of its $8bn in debt. $103m, though, has been earmarked as advisory fees for the consortium of private equity companies – including Alpinvest, Blackstone, Carlyle, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Thomas H. Lee – which bought Nielsen (then known as VNU) for around $10bn in 2006.

Once the IPO is complete, Nielsen’s shares will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NLSN and the company should have a market capitalisation of over $7bn.

Nielsen’s third-quarter results, published in October, showed revenue up 5% to $1.29bn.