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Nielsen Holdings plc plans to sell its consumer goods data unit for $2.7 billion to private equity firm Advent International, as the market research firm narrows its focus to its media arm.

Upon completion of the transaction, Nielsen Global Connect will be a private company with the flexibility to continue investing in the development and deployment of leading-edge measurement products and solutions.

Advent is purchasing the Nielsen business unit in partnership with James Peck, a former CEO of TransUnion, a credit reporting company. 

Nielsen says that the sale of its Connect business, which provides research data to consumer goods companies, will help the company reduce its debt load.

Last year, Nielsen stated it planned to split into two publicly traded companies, but the new Advent deal means that plan won't happen.

Nielsen says the Connect business will also be granted a license to brand its products and services with the “Nielsen” name and other Nielsen trademarks for 20 years.

"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," says David Kenny, CEO of Nielsen.

"The proceeds from the sale will allow Nielsen to significantly reduce debt, which will provide greater financial flexibility to execute our growth strategy and expand our role in the global media marketplace. At the same time, we are excited about this opportunity for Nielsen Global Connect and believe that moving forward as a private company will better position the business to accelerate its transformation and strengthen its market-leading position," adds Kenny.

David Rawlinson will remain CEO of Nielsen Global Connect through the close of the transaction and is expected to be part of the leadership team for the go-forward company. Upon close, Peck will be involved in the day-to-day strategic and operational activities of the company, which will be headquartered in Chicago, IL.

In early 2021, the Global Connect business will be renamed NielsenIQ.

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