How much did GIC actually lose investing in Nielsen?

How much did GIC actually lose investing in Nielsen?

On Thursday (8 Nov), Straits Times published a news report today saying that it “continues to be Singapore’s best read newspaper”.

Quoting the latest annual Singapore Media Index Report released by Nielsen, ST said that 29.8 per cent of Singapore residents aged 15 and above read ST everyday. Nielsen had polled 4,688 people aged 15 and above in its survey.

“It marks a percentage point improvement from last year,” ST added.

Thanks to the revelation from Facebook user Phillip Ang, in fact, Singapore government bought into Nielsen through its investments from GIC. In 2015, GIC bought a 5% stake in U.S. information and television ratings company Nielsen.

It was reported on WSJ at the time that GIC went on to own 18.79 million shares in Nielsen. Based on Nielsen’s last traded share price of US$43.75 then, the deal was valued at US$822 million.

Since GIC acquired shares in Nielsen, the share price has been dropping except for a brief period in 2016. Yesterday (9 Nov), Nielsen’s shares closed at US$26.46.

GIC sold off Nielsen’s shares between May 2017 to May 2018

It’s not actually known if GIC is still holding on to Nielsen’s shares, since unlike other sovereign wealth funds, GIC does not disclose everything.

However, from the various SEC filings , one can deduce that GIC has likely sold off all its shares in Nielsen by now.

In the Proxy Statement 2017 of Nielsen (23 May 2017), GIC was still listed as one of substantial shareholders with 20.6 million shares, suggesting that GIC had in fact, bought more shares since its initial 2015 purchase of 18.79 million shares:

But in the Proxy Statement 2018 of Nielsen (22 May 2018), GIC was no longer listed as one of its substantial shareholders:

And in the annual SEC Schedule 13G filing which a party must do so if it owns more than 5% shares of any public listed company in US, GIC disclosed that it had 16.8 million shares as at 31 Dec 2017.

That means to say, it sold 3.8 million shares between May to Dec last year and the rest (16.8 million) between Jan and May this year. Clearly, GIC must have made a loss in investing more than US$800 million in Nielsen:



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