Nielsen Gunning for New Year IPO

The media company Nielsen Holdings may be one of the first big sponsor-led IPOs (initial public offerings) of the new year, according to people familiar with the company’s plans, as it prepares for a $1.7 billion stock issue as early as January.


Nielsen, which first filed IPO paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission in June, has been waiting more than six months for the proper market conditions to go public, say people familiar with the matter.

Now, with stock markets rallying and investors appearing receptive to new issues, the company and its investors—a consortium of private equity firms—want to seize the moment, add these sources.

Nielsen and its bankers are in active discussions about a road show that could begin the week of Jan. 10, two of these people say. If all goes well, that effort could be capped with a late-January offering, the people add. A Nielsen spokeswoman declined in an e-mail to comment.

Two other private-equity backed companies—the retail giant Toys R Us, which filed in the spring for a roughly $800 million offering, and the hospital operator HCA Holdings Inc., which filed around the same time for a $4.6 billion offering—also would like to go public early in 2011, say people familiar with their plans.

But neither is likely to come to market as quickly as Nielsen, according to the sources.

Toys R Us, for one, operates on a Jan. 30 fiscal year, and will want to share the details of its holiday-season sales with investors while on the road, two of these people say. But because it can take a few weeks to review and audit sales and revenue numbers, the earliest Toys R Us could go on the road would likely be late February or early March, add these people.

A spokeswoman for Toys declined in an e-mail to comment. A spokesman for HCA, which submitted an updated filing to the SEC Thursday morning, could not immediately be reached for comment.

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