Nielsen soars in Wall Street debut


Shares of Nielsen Holdings, the parent of The Nielsen Company, shot up in trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The initial public offering of more than $2 billion in stock and convertible bonds had priced Tuesday evening at $23 per share, which exceeded the projected range of $20-22.

Trading in the first two hours Wednesday approached 40 million shares, with the stock opening at $24.75 and shooting as high as $25.64. By the time the closing bell sounded more than 52 million shares had traded and the stock cosed at $25.00, up 8.7% from its IPO pricing. The high for the day, reached in the afternoon, was $25.78.

Nielsen sold over 71.4 million shares of stock at a total price of over $1.64 billion. The underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to 10.7 million additional shares to cover over-allotments. Given the strong pricing, it is likely that the entire greenshoe will be picked up, which would add nearly a quarter billion dollars and take the entire stock offering to just shy of $1.89 billion.

In addition, Nielsen sold $250 million of bonds with a mandatory conversion to stock in 2013. The underwriters also have an option to pick up an additional $37.5 million of the bonds. So, of all of the options are picked up the total sale will exceed $2.17 billion.

JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley led the successful offering. The list of additional participants reads like a Wall Street who’s who: Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank Securities, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Citi are serving as joint book-running managers for both offerings, with BofA Merrill Lynch, William Blair & Company, Guggenheim Securities, Wells Fargo Securities, Blaylock Robert Van, LLC, HSBC, Loop Capital Markets, Mizuho Securities USA Inc., Ramirez & Co., Inc. and The Williams Capital Group, L.P. are acting as co-managers.

RBR-TVBR observation: This is terrific news for every company in the media sector that might want to consider an IPO or the sale of additional stock. The Nielsen IPO was a huge success and the stock is running with the bulls. Also worth noting is that the IPO of Internet content company Demand Media also priced a buck above the top end of projections at $17, the offering size was increased by nearly $39 million to $151.3 million and the stock soared in Wednesday’s NYSE trading. Wall Street appears to have a good appetite for media stocks.