Companies Racing to Capture Emerging Markets: Nielsen CEO

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Large corporate clients are racing to do business with consumers in the developing world, the CEO of the TV and consumer ratings enterprise the Nielsen Company, David Calhoun, told CNBC Wednesday, on the day of its long-awaited IPO.

“The big multinational clients are fighting to capture the first consumer in Africa, the first consumer in China, the first consumer in rural India,” said Calhoun.

Nielsen has 20,000 clients in 30 countries and tracks activity in 100 million blogs, social networks and chat boards. According the company, 70 percent of its revenue is recurring.

“For us to build our footprint to identify the traditional trade that satisfies our needs is by far the Number 1 priority. Continuing to help them [multinationals such as Coca-Cola] grow positions in the developing world and track down new consumers—they need them, they know that’s where the growth is—that’s where Nielson can help them.”

The market's positive response to Nielsen’s IPO bodes well for other offerings this year. The deal includes a share price of $23 for the 71,428,572 of its common stock, raising roughly $1.9 billion, according to the New York Times. The anticipated range of the offering had been $20 to $22 a share.

“The notion of global growth—which is where my company is going—consumers around the world, that’s very appealing to this investment community,” added Calhoun.

When it sells shares Wednesday, Nielsen will be the largest private equity-backed offering since the $1.4 billion debut of Spirit Aerosystem in 2006, reported the Times.

The buyout firms that own it — including the Blackstone Group , Thomas H. Lee Partners and the Carlyle Group — will see their stakes shrink from 97 percent to less than 76, says the NYT.