Nielsen Draws Interest From Blackstone and Carlyle

(Bloomberg) -- Nielsen Holdings Plc, the consumer-data giant weighing a sale under pressure from an activist investor, has drawn interest from suitors including Blackstone Group LP and the Carlyle Group LP, according to people familiar with the matter.

The two private equity firms are considering submitting bids for the company, said the people, who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. Deliberations are at an early stage and Nielsen may also attract offers from other potential suitors, the people said.

Nielsen is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Guggenheim Partners LLC to evaluate a sale or breakup among other strategic options, according to a statement this month.

The company’s shares had sunk about 25 percent this year as it grappled with the departure of its chief executive officer and new privacy rules hurting its consumer data sales and analytics operations. The shares jumped more than 6 percent percent in late trading after closing at $27.20 in New York.

A deal for New York-based Nielsen, which has a market value of about $9.6 billion, would rank as one of the year’s biggest buyouts, in a tier with Blackstone’s $17 billion Thomson Reuters Corp. deal and Carlyle’s $12.5 billion Akzo Nobel NV transaction.

Elliott Management Corp., the New York-based hedge fund run by billionaire Paul Singer, encouraged it to pursue a sale in August, after acquiring a stake in the company.

Representatives for Nielsen, Blackstone, Carlyle and Elliott declined to comment.

Blackstone and Carlyle have a long history with Nielsen. They were part of a consortium of buyout firms that acquired the company for about $10 billion in 2006, when it was called VNU NV.

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