Nielsen Gravy Train Continues As Insiders Cash In

The trading value of Nielsen shares has reached a “lifetime high,” as a number of insiders begin cashing in on theirs. Late Thursday, the biggest insider of all -- Valcon Acquisition Holding, the consortium of private equity companies that took Nielsen private and then public again, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a secondary offering of 30 million shares of Nielsen stock, which has a current trading value of about $1.2 billion. That was the latest round of secondary offerings by the consortium, which has already reaped billions from the sale of its Nielsen shares.

In a related move, the former Nielsen CEO who led the public capitalization of Nielsen, took a senior position at Blackstone Group, one of the private equity firms at the center of Valcon.

Calhoun, who has been described as “Nielsen's $78 million CEO” for the compensation deal he got for taking Nielsen public, will step down as Nielsen CEO Jan. 1, 2014, but will remain executive chairman of its board, and one of its biggest personal shareholders.



Calhoun will become head of Blackstone's private equity portfolio operations, as well as a member of its management and executive committees.

He is one of the most talented CEOs we have ever worked with. We are excited to have him help guide our portfolio company operations as well as the strategic development of Blackstone itself," Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a number of top and former Nielsen executives have been cashing in on their shares. During the past six months, insiders have sold 166.9 million shares of Nielsen stock, reaping billions from public investors.

Retired Nielsen vet Susan Whiting sold 35,000 shares for $1.4 million on Tuesday, and Mitchell Habib sold 88,203 shares for $3.6 million on Monday.

Despite, or maybe because of all the insider activity, the trading value of Nielsen's shares have reached an all-time high, according to an analysis by The Street.

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