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TV ratings and consumer research giant Nielsen plans to go public

Nielsen Holdings BV, the TV ratings and consumer research titan, plans to go public.

Nielsen, which is based in the Netherlands, said in a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it intends to raise up to $1.75 billion in an initial public offering. Proceeds would be used to reduce its $8.6 billion debt and for general corporate purposes.

The company has a sizable presence in the Tampa Bay area, with more than 3,500 staffers spread across five locations. Nielsen received tax breaks for promising to create hundreds of high-wage jobs at its central location, a $130 million data collection and research facility in Oldsmar. But it was subsequently criticized for outsourcing some of the work to contractors working for India-based Tata Consultancy Services.

Nielsen was acquired in May 2006 for roughly $9.7 billion by a group of private equity firms, which included AlpInvest Partners, Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The company has operations in roughly 100 countries and annual revenue of about $4.8 billion. It is led by a former General Electric Co. executive, David L. Calhoun.

In recent years, Nielsen has pared its trade publication business, selling some of its most iconic brands in December, including Billboard and the Hollywood Reporter.

Times wires contributed to this report.

TV ratings and consumer research giant Nielsen plans to go public 06/03/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 3, 2010 11:06pm]

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