Nielsen backers to take some cash


Pile of MoneyThe private equity funds who took Nielsen (then VNU) private in 2006 and then took it public again in a January 2011 IPO that sold $2 billion of stock to the public are now taking some of their profits off the table. The company has filed to register 25 million shares of stock held by insiders.

At Friday’s closing price of $30.40 those 25 million shares are worth $760 million. That’s less than 10% of the stake owned by the PE funds, who will still have over 245 million shares, slightly over 75% of Nielsen’s equity, even after the stock sale.

All but 14,462 of the shares newly registered for sale are coming from Valcon Acquisition Holding, the company which took VNU private. Valcon is owned by AlpInvest Partners, The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Thomas H. Lee Partners and Centerview Partners. All were investors for the going private transaction except for Centerview, which joined later as an investor. AlpInvest will sell 1,928,708 shares, Blackstone 2,830,168, Carlyle 5,660,337, H&F 2,725,347, KKR 5,747,011, Lee 5,747,011 and Centerview 346,956.

The insiders selling the 14,462 shares are not identified, since they collectively own less than 1% of the company.

The Wall Street underwriters handling the sale will also have an option to purchase an additional 3.75 million shares from the selling shareholders if the offering is oversubscribed.

A long list of underwriters will handle the offering. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC are the joint bookrunning managers of the offering and representatives of the underwriters. Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC are also bookrunning managers of the offering. Also participating are HSBC, Guggenheim Securities, RBC Capital Markets, William Blair & Company, Loop Capital Markets, Mizuho Securities, Ramirez & Co. and The Williams Capital Group.

RBR-TVBR observation: It has been six years since the going private transaction, so it is hardly surprising that the PE funds are seeking liquidity for some of their paper profits. In fact, it’s surprising that they only selling such a small portion of their stake. They must think this company still has a lot of growth potential.