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Nielsen to split into two companies

Margie Manning

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Nielsen Holdings plc, one of the largest technology employers in the Tampa-St. Pete area, will split into two independent, publicly traded companies.

Each of the two companies —Global Media and Global Connect — will have sharper strategic focus and greater opportunity to leverage its unique competitive advantages, Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) said in a press release.

For now, it will be business as usual at the Nielsen Global Technology and Innovation Center in Oldsmar. It is Nielsen’s largest office in the world, with nearly 2,500 employees in teams focused on engineering and technology, application development, operations, customer service, survey research and project management.

“Real estate optimization is one of the workstreams that we have in place as we work towards separating the two businesses,” a  spokesperson for Nielsen said in an email. “However, as the majority of the associates that work out from our Global Technology and Innovation Center are from our Global Media business, we don’t expect any major changes. We will operate business as usual until the separation is completed.”

Nielsen is a member of Tampa Bay Tech, one of the nation’s oldest and largest technology councils. The Nielsen Foundation has been a major financial supporter for Tampa Bay Wave’s TechDiversity Accelerator program.

A large shareholder and activist investor, Elliot Management, has been pushing Nielsen to find a buyer. Elliot Management supports the decision to split into two companies, CNBC reported.

After the separation is complete, David Kenny, who is chief executive of Nielsen Holdings, will serve as the CEO of Nielsen’s Global Media business. Nielsen has begun a search for a CEO of the Global Connect business.

Nielsen shareholders will get 100 percent of the shares of Global Connect, in a distribution designed to qualify as tax-free. Nielsen expects to complete the deal in nine to 12 months.

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