Blog Post

Nielsen Files For A Possible $1.75 Billion IPO

Nielsen, one of the biggest B2B media and measurement companies, has filed for an IPO, and hopes to raise as much as $1.75 billion. J.P. Morgan Securities and Morgan Stanley are the lead underwriters for it, but no word on share price range, how many shares, or what exchange it will be on, though very likely NYSE.

Nielsen was acquired for about $10 billion, in 2006 by a group of PE firms including AlpInvest Partners, The Blackstone Group (BX: News ), The Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Thomas H. Lee Partners. Since then it has restructured around measurement and research services in TV, online and mobile, and bought a slew of companies in that space, and has been divesting off its B2B media related properties worldwide. Of course the B2B media market has seen lots of turbulence since then, and so have the PE firms. The IPO will be a test of the market appetite for large media and marketing services companies, in these still uncertain times.

The full S-1 filed with SEC is here. Some highlights from it after the jump:

— Top 10 clients include The Coca-Cola Company, NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), Nestle S.A., News Corp. (NYSE: NWS), The Procter & Gamble Company and the Unilever Group.

— Prior to U.S. listing, it will go public in Netherlands, due to various legal reasons.

— About 47 percent of its revenues in 2009 came from outside U.S.

— In 2009, it received $84 million in net proceeds associated with business divestitures, primarily associated with the sale of its media properties within the Publications segment.

— Sale of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and others to e5 Global Media, resulted in a loss of about $14 million, net of taxes of $3 million. The net loss included $10 million of liabilities for certain obligations associated with transition services that were contractually retained by Nielsen.

— Revenues increased 8.5 percent, to $1,196 million for Q110 from $1,102 million for Q109. Operating income in Q110 increased 18.5 percent to $132 million from $112 million in Q109.

— David Calhoun, the CEO who came on after the PE buy in 2006, had a signing bonus of $10.6 million, which is being paid in installments annually through January 2012. Also, to compensate him for stock and options forfeited upon leaving his prior employer, he was also entitled to a cash lump sum payment of $20 million, and was paid about $18.8 million in the end for it. Additionally, in 2012 he is entitled to receive a lump sum deferred compensation benefit of $14.5 million plus annual interest.