Media company VNU, parent of research giant Nielsen Media Research, agreed Wednesday to a $8.9 billion takeover by six private equity firms. The Dutch company must win approval of the deal from its shareholders.
Including assumption of debt, the total value of the deal is $10.3 billion, or13.4 times cash flow.
The investment firms involved include AlpInvest Partners N.V., The Blackstone Group L.P., The Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.
"This transaction brings VNU new owners who support our long-term strategy of growth through expanded market coverage; expansion into developing markets; technology and service innovation; and development of integrated business solutions for our clients,” Rob van den Bergh, chief executive officer of VNU, said in a statement.
“It gives the company the added operational flexibility of private ownership. VNU will continue to focus on improving efficiency and integration across our businesses to ensure that we capture the substantial growth opportunities made possible by our business model and strategy."
The company says van den Bergh will step down when the transaction closes.
VNU, which also owns The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard magazines, said in December it was seeking offers for the company.
Before accepting the investment firms’ offer, VNU explored breaking up the company, but determined, “a break-up would not be as attractive to shareholders as a sale of VNU in a single transaction,” the company said in a statement.