Kaminsky's Call: Could Nielsen Be A Ratings Boom For Private Equity?

Many consider Wednesday's Nielsen IPO to be a referendum on their business.



Because there's a much bigger story at work, and if you listen carefully, it could make you a lot of money.

My colleague Kate Kelly was first to break the news that the ratings company would look to go public in January. Last night, she broke the news that Nielsen would price above its initial range.

And while much of Wednesday's debate centers on whether you should buy Nielsen stock, a better question to ask yourself is whether you should you buy the companies that are bringing Nielsen public.

Nielsen was one of the vintage LBO (leverage buyout) transactions from just before the credit crisis.

If its sponsors, which include publicly traded PE firms KKR and Blackstone , can successfully place the deal, it would set the tone and tenor for other sponsors to exit some of their holdings too, including HCA and Toys "R" Us.

Put simply, a healthy Nielsen IPO would show investors that there is an exit strategy for private equity firms, a point Morgan Stanley's Shelly Bergman has made on the show several times.

And as Dan Cummings, Bank of America Merrill Lynch's global head of capital markets told us Tuesday, sponsors should continue play a big role in the IPO market this year.

In short, that should boost the bottom line for private equity firms, and it certainly explains why so many are tuned into Nielsen's IPO.

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Gary Kaminsky does not hold any equity positions.

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