Nielsen plans to raise $2 billion in IPO: filing

NEW YORK/BANGALORE Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:33pm EDT

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NEW YORK/BANGALORE (Reuters) - Private equity-owned Nielsen plans to raise up to $2.01 billion through an initial public offering, more than the $1.75 billion it was originally aiming for, it said in a U.S. regulatory filing on Monday.

Nielsen, the world's largest TV and consumer measurement company, was taken private in a $10 billion deal in 2006 by a group of six private equity firms -- Carlyle Group, Blackstone Group LP, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, Thomas H. Lee Partners, AlpInvest Partners and Hellman & Friedman.

Nielsen is best known for its viewership ratings, which often determine the fate of TV programs. Its top 10 clients -- who account for about 23 percent of its business -- include Coca-Cola Co, NBC Universal, Nestle SA, News Corp, Procter & Gamble Co and Unilever NV.

In June, it said it planned to raise up to $1.75 billion through an IPO. The filing on Monday said it now plans to raise up to $2.01 billion.

Private equity firms have been lining up companies to take public as they look to exit investments and reap dividends for investors, after a drought that arose because of plunging stock markets.

A number of media-related companies are taking the public route, including Internet company Demand Media Inc, which filed earlier in August to raise up to $125 million, and Internet phone services provider Skype, which filed to raise $100 million.

Web video service Hulu, which has private equity firm Providence as an investor, is also planning an IPO, a source familiar with the situation said earlier on Monday.

Still, the stock market has been volatile for the past few months and poor market conditions have caused many companies to postpone IPO plans this year.

Nielsen reported revenue of $1.27 billion for the second quarter, an increase of 7 percent from the year-ago period, according to the company's website. Operating income was $182 million, compared with $172 million last year.

As of June 30, 2010, total debt was $8.44 billion, and cash balances were $369 million.

Nielsen, which will list under the symbol "NLSN," said it expected the net proceeds from the offering of about $1.7 billion, after deducting underwriting discounts and offering expenses.

It expects to use the net proceeds to repay debt.

JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are the lead underwriters. Other banks underwriting the IPO include Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

(Additional reporting by Liana Baker in New York; Editing by Andre Grenon and Steve Orlofsky)

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