NY Post: Nielsen Cuts Sale Price, Extends Deadline to Lure Bidder

Television-ratings company Nielsen Holdings PLC reportedly has cut its price tag and has extended a deadline in an attempt to keep its last remaining bidder at the table.

Nielsen (NLSN) has extended the deadline for last bids until June and has lowered its asking price to keep a group that includes Advent International and Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s buyout arm interested in the deal, the New York Post reported.

The Post said it was unclear what price Nielsen had been asking, but the deal could be as high as $20 billion given the company’s $8.5 billion market cap and $9 billion in net debt.

Nielsen said in September it would expand a review of strategic alternatives to include a sale of the entire television ratings company after coming under pressure to do so from hedge fund Elliott Management Corp, which in August reported it owned up to 8.4 percent of the company’s shares.

Nielsen, best known for providing audience figures that are used to determine advertising rates for TV commercials, has been seeking to adapt to the media industry’s shift to digital advertising and video consumption on mobile devices, Reuters explained.

Before exploring an outright sale, Nielsen had said it was only exploring a sale of its “buy” segment, which provides marketing data on customers’ purchases, and not its “watch” segment, which offers viewership and listenership data and analytics across TV, radio, online and mobile devices.

Nielsen, which has a debt pile of about $8.6 billion, almost as much as its market value, faces competition from start-ups using automated content recognition (ACR) to track viewing habits via mobile devices and smart TVs. It acquired Gracenote in 2017 in a bid to bolster its ACR capabilities.

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