Nielsen kicks off IPO season with $1.6B raised and 8% jump in trading

Who says the IPO market is anemic?

Television-and-Internet audience measurer Nielsen Holdings raised $1.6 billion Tuesday during its initial public offering, close to 10 percent more than analysts had a projected, and boosting the company’s shares nearly 8 percent to $23 in Wednesday trading, a hefty leap from all prior predictions.

Nielsen said it would use the money from its IPO to pay down debt. Its private-equity shareholders, who bought the firm in 2006 for around $10 billion, will continue to hold all their Nielsen shares, which they can then sell over time. The Carlyle Group, Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Thomas H. Lee Partners, AlpInvest Partners and Hellman & Friedman were all part of the consortium that took Nielsen private and are now reaping the gains of its turnaround.

The interest in media- and tech-related IPOs is clearly turning the heads of investors.

Online news aggregator Demand Media also went public on Tuesday, raising $151.3 million — again, greatly above its target range by garnering more than a third of what it had expected.

That booming public coming out shot Demand’s shares up more than 30 percent in trading today.

The worst news on the IPO market? That Internet phone service Skype may delay its IPO until later this year. That would still make 2011 the year of the IPO, as many have hoped. Currently, 44 companies are registered to go public, up from 25 at this time last year, according to a study released by Dow Jones VentureSource during the first week of January, with more likely to come.

[Homepage photo: bfishadow]