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Nielsen Holdings is selling its retail measurement arm, Nielsen Global Connect, to private equity giant Advent International for $2.7 billion, in partnership with former TransUnion CEO Jim Peck, the company announced Sunday.

Why it matters: Nielsen was planning to spin off the retail business next year into an independent, public company, after pressure from activist investor Elliot Management. The sale to Advent will replace that effort.

Be smart: Nielsen was under pressure to dump its retail measurement arm to alleviate debt so that it could focus on growing its media measurement business.

  • The retail arm had been negatively impacted by the decline in traditional retail and increased competition.
  • Nielsen's media arm, which measures media and advertising consumption, remains as its own independent, publicly-traded business. It will continue to be led by Nielsen CEO David Kenny.

Details: The sale will allow Advent to developing the retail measurement service independently of Nielsen's media arm, and it will allow Nielsen to offload a significant amount of debt.

  • David Rawlinson will remain CEO of Nielsen Global Connect through the close of the transaction. In a statement, Nielsen said he is "expected to be part of the leadership team for the go-forward company."
  • Advent has invested in different types of data and information services companies for decades. It expects to work with Rawlinson and his management team to continue to develop and innovate the business.
  • The new company will be headquartered in Chicago, IL and will be renamed NielsenIQ early next year.
  • Nielsen will grant the retail business a license to brand its products and services with the “Nielsen” name, as well as other Nielsen trademarks, for 20 years following closing of the transaction.
  • Nielsen’s Board of Directors unanimously approved the transaction.

What they're saying: “This is a win for both Nielsen Global Connect and for Nielsen (RemainCo), as well as for our shareholders,” said David Kenny, Chief Executive Officer, Nielsen.

  • “The sale of this business to Advent will deliver substantial value sooner than was anticipated through the planned spin-off and creates certainty for all stakeholders."

Go deeper: Nielsen to separate business into two public companies

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