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The Wall Street Journal: Nielsen rejects $9 billion takeover bid by private-equity firms led by Elliott

Nielsen Holdings PLC rejected a roughly $9 billion takeover offer from a private-equity consortium, saying that it undervalues the TV-ratings company.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Elliott Management Corp. was part of a private-equity group in advanced talks to buy Nielsen for roughly $15 billion including debt. Nielsen said Sunday it wouldn’t proceed with a bid that would have valued the company at $25.40 a share, without naming members of the consortium.

Nielsen
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said that WindAcre Partnership LLC, which has a roughly 10% stake and additional exposure of 14% through swaps, had told the company that if it were to accept the proposal, the Houston investment firm would block the transaction. Nielsen said WindAcre was considering joining the buyer group but ultimately decided against it, believing the proposal undervalued the company.

Nielsen also said it intends to start $1 billion worth of previously approved share repurchases when the window to do so opens, likely after the company’s earnings report scheduled for April 21.

A deal was expected to be announced soon, according to people familiar with the matter. It is possible the talks could resume.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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