Nielsen hailed as a top IPO of 2011


There weren’t a lot of initial public offerings in 2011, but the market’s appetite for new stocks did improve a bit. An end-of-year review by Forbes magazine listed a name familiar to broadcasters, Nielsen Holdings, as one of the year’s big success stories among IPOs.

The IPO of the TV ratings and consumer data company in January of 2011 raised over $2 billion (the $1.6B figure in the Forbes article missed the $250 million of mandatory convertible subordinated bonds, which convert to stock in 2013). The IPO priced at $23 per share, closed the first day of trading at $25. It has never dipped below $24.38 and has been as high at $33.00. It closed Friday, the last trading day of 2011, at $26.69, up 16% from the IPO price.

As Forbes noted, the stock sale by Nielsen was at the time the biggest ever for a private-equity-backed company. The PE backers still own most of the company’s stock. Nielsen, then known as VNU, was taken private in a 2006 leveraged buyout totaling $9 billion by Alpinvest, the Blackstone Group, the Carlyle Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Hellman & Friedman and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

Who else was cited by Forbes as one of the three top IPOs of 2011? Endocyte, a drug development firm associated with Purdue University, and ServiceSource International, a major global vendor of revenue management software and services for technology-based firms.

RBR-TVBR observation: Not making that trio were the most hyped IPOs of 2011 – Pandora Media and Groupon. Both were busted IPOs, falling below their IPO price in the first month of trading, although Groupon, the daily deal company, has at least recovered since then and is trading barely above its IPO price. Pandora, an Internet audio streaming company, is trading well below its IPO price.

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