Nielsen 1Q Profits Down as Company Prepares for Takeover

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Nielsen reported lower earnings as it prepares to be acquired by a private equity group lead by Elliott Investment Management.

Net income fell to $105 million, or 29 cents a share, compared to $573 million, or $1.60 a share, reflecting the sale of its Global Connect business for $2.7 billion last year. The company said net income from continuing operations was $101 million, down from $106 million. 

Revenue rose 1.6% to $877 million.

Measurement revenue rose 2.1% to $645 million. The growth was driven by strength in national and digital measurement products in the U.S. and in international markets, the company said. Local products grew modestly for the fourth consecutive quarter.

The company’s measurement business is under pressure with clients seeking alternatives after Nielsen undercounted viewing during the recession and lost its accreditation from the Media Rating Council.

The company reiterated its guidance for the full year, excluding costs contingent on the private-equity sale. Because of the sale, Nielsen did not have a first-quarter earnings call.

"We reported solid first quarter results, which were in line with our expectations. Our results reflect the commitment of our teams in executing on our strategy and delivering innovation in client solutions, as well as the strength of our client relationships,” said CEO David Kenny.

“Nielsen remains the industry's currency of choice, providing the most accurate and verifiable measurement data in the market to guarantee this year's upfront commitments,” Kenny said. “Furthermore, we are leading the industry into the next generation of audience measurement with Nielsen One, our transformative cross-media solution that will serve as the metrics underpinning the more than $100 billion video advertising ecosystem. We remain confident that Nielsen is uniquely positioned to provide the global media industry with a currency-grade, cross-platform measurement solution that aligns with clients' evolving needs."■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.