Owners plan $21bn sale of market researcher Nielsen

The six private equity owners of market research giant Nielsen are planning an IPO (initial public offer) of the firm they bought a couple of years ago for $10bn for between $17bn and $21bn.

This is a mightily optimistic bet on profits recovery in the marketing sector and implies profits for Nielsen of around $1.6bn before payments to its owners.

But Nielsen has kept its place as the main provider of research into the US TV market as well as a big supplier of consumer data.

Some commentators feared that the exponential growth in data gathered from the internet by the likes of Google would leave market research companies beached. This fear surfaced when WPP bought TNS for around £1bn shortly before the recession struck.

But Nielsen’s owners obviously take a more sanguine view. Or maybe they’re trying to get out before the internet does take over still more of the world.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.