Nielsen to Sell Consumer-Data Unit to PE Firm Advent for $2.7B

Nielsen Holdings will sell its Global Connect consumer-data business to the Boston private-equity firm Advent for $2.7 billion.
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Nielsen Holdings  (NLSN) - Get Report said on Sunday that it definitively agreed to sell its Global Connect consumer-data and -analysis business for $2.7 billion to the Boston private equity firm Advent International.

The Global Connect business offers data and analysis to consumer-packaged-goods retailers and manufacturers about the consumer marketplace and insights into growing and innovating with brands, the New York analytics and data-measurement company said in a statement.

As part of the deal, Nielsen said, it also will receive warrants in the new company exercisable under certain circumstances.

Nielsen said it would use the proceeds of the deal to reduce debt. At June 30, Nielsen had about $8 billion in net debt. Most of the debt is due now through the end of 2023, according to Bloomberg.

Nielsen's board approved the deal. The sale is expected to close in the second quarter, subject to conditions including approval by Nielsen shareholders, regulatory clearances, and consultation with works councils.

David Rawlinson will remain CEO of Nielsen Global Connect through closing and will be part of the leadership team going forward, the company said. Global Connect will be based in Chicago.

Nielsen will grant Global Connect a license to brand its products and services and other trademarks for 20 years. Nielsen and Advent will provide certain transitional services and licenses to each other for as long as two years. 

Nielsen had planned to spin off Global Connect tax-free into a publicly listed company in the first quarter. The sale to Advent "will deliver substantial value sooner than was anticipated," said David Kenny, chief executive at Nielsen.

The Global Connect business will be renamed NielsenIQ.

Advent is partnering on the purchase with Jim Peck, former chief executive of the credit reporting company TransUnion.

Advent International had $58.4 billion in assets under management as of June 30. It's focused primarily on business and financial services, health care, industrial, retail, consumer and leisure, and technology.

Nielsen shares at last check were up 5.9% at $14.31.