Ropes & Gray, White & Case and Hengeler Mueller lead on NielsenIQ and GfK combination

BakerHosteler, Squire Patton Boggs and Simpson Thacher also work on merger set to create a leading global provider of consumer analytics

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Ropes & Gray, White & Case and Hengeler Mueller have headlined the group of firms advising consumer analytics providers NielsenIQ and GfK and their majority shareholders on a combination for an undisclosed amount. 

The deal, set to go live later this year or in 2023, will see Chicago-based NielsenIQ and GfK, headquartered in Nuremburg, gain wider international footprints and industry coverage as well as the opportunity to improve their omni-channel measurement capabilities, the companies said. 

Upon closing, NielsenIQ’s owner, Advent International, will become the majority shareholder of the combined company, while GfK’s current majority shareholders, the Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions (NIM) and US investment giant KKR, will remain invested in the new entity as ‘significant’ shareholders. 

Chris Egan, managing partner of Advent, said the deal provided “tremendous potential” to build out the companies’ complimentary “cutting edge” offerings. 

“Given the capabilities and resources of the soon-to-be combined entity, we are confident in our ability to build a truly global leader in consumer and retail data,” he said. “Drawing on our global footprint and operational strength, we aim to further scale the business and advance its position across established and emerging markets.”

Ropes & Gray advised NielsenIQ in the deal with a team led by Boston-based private equity partner Christian Westera, who was supported by fellow PE partner Matthew Richards, tax partners David Saltzman, Chris Agnoli and Andy Howard, executive compensation partner Jenny Rikoski, labour and employment partner Doug Brayley, strategic transactions partner Ed Black and data, privacy and cybersecurity partner Rohan Massey. 

Lawyers from Covington & Burling, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Squire Patton Boggs also served as legal counsel to NielsenIQ. 

Hengeler Mueller and Simpson Thacher advised KKR, while BakerHosteler and Fieldfisher advised NIM. Hengeler fielded a deal team led by Düsseldorf-based M&A partners Elisabeth Kreuzer and Christian Schwandtner, who worked alongside employment partner Hendrik Bockenheimer and a supporting cast of counsel and associates. The German firm previously acted on KKR’s behalf in its acquisition of shareholding in GfK through a takeover offer and the subsequent squeeze-out. 

This time around, Hengeler’s team also worked with Simpson Thacher corporate partner Mark Pflug, who is based in New York and specialises in M&A. 

White & Case, meanwhile, acted for GfK, with Alexander Kiefner (corporate, Frankfurt) and James Hu (M&A, New York) leading the charge alongside partner Matthias Kiesewetter (M&A, Hamburg), partner of counsel Lutz Krämer (capital markets, Frankfurt) and associates Nico Frehse (Hamburg) and Benedikt Happ (Frankfurt).


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