Shareholder Opposing Nielsen Deal Raises Stake in Ratings Company

Nielsen building in Canada
(Image credit: Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Scalable Grid Engine - Own work, CC0,

WindAcre Partners, which expressed its opposition to Nielsen’s plan to be acquired by a group of private equity firms for $16 billion including debt, said it raised its stake in the ratings company to 18.9%.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday, WindAcre bought 33.4 million Nielsen shares on April 6, 7, and 8 at prices between $27.05 a share and $27.71 a share, for a total of about $918 million. That brought WindAcre’s investment in Nielsen to more than $1.6 billion.

Before rumors of the buyout plan surfaced, Nielsen stock traded as low as $16.69 on March 7. The shares jumped to $23.24 on the reports about Elliott Management making a bid. The shares closed at $27.75 Friday.

Nielsen rejected Elliott’s original bid of $25.40 and noted that WindAcre declined to join the consortium and would increase its stake, making Elliott’s takeover more difficult.

Nielsen later accepted a larger $28 a share bid.

On April 5 in an SEC filing WindAcre reiterated that it opposed the sweetened proposal as well and said it will “take steps to attempt to block the transaction.” It said those steps could include purchasing Nielsen securities, voting against the transaction, communicating with other shareholders or third parties and proposing corporate resolutions. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.