A ‘New Nielsen’ With A Growth Promise Position

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New growth from new solutions. A new culture, driven by a growth mindset. A compelling financial model. 


Those are the key highlights provided in a sleek earnings presentation put together by Nielsen, as it released its first-quarter 2021 results. How did it do? Revenue was up, but did Nielsen beat Wall Street estimates?

For the quarter, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenue came in at $841.1 million, and Nielsen easily surpassed that, with reported revenue rising to $863 million, from $842 million.

Operating revenue grew to $253 million from $177 million, with net income from continuing operations jumping to $109 million ($0.29 per diluted share), from $60 million ($0.16).

On an adjusted EBITDA basis, revenue grew to $388 million ($0.47) from $326 million ($0.36)

This was also an easy street beat, as the Zacks Consensus Estimate put Nielsen’s EPS for continuing operations at $0.32.

For the radio and TV business, Nielsen’s “Audience Measurement” segment is perhaps the most relevant. In Q1 ’21, revenue increased by 2.8%, to $632 million from $615 million.

With a net debt leverage ratio at the end of Q1 of 3.77x, and the March 5 sale of the Global Connect business to affiliates of Advent International, in partnership with James “Jim” Peck yielding $2.28 billion for debt reduction — along with a preliminary $542 million gain, net of taxes — CEO David Kenny commented, “We delivered a solid first quarter, as our teams executed incredibly well. We are now singularly focused as the global essential data, measurement, and analytics provider for the entire media ecosystem.  We are investing in our future and we are well-positioned to drive new growth from new solutions across all of our end markets globally.  In particular, we are pleased with the advances we’ve made in Audience Measurement, Outcomes and Gracenote Content Services.  We are executing as planned and we are increasing key elements of our 2021 guidance.”

The Company is updating full year 2021 guidance as follows:

  • Total revenue growth on a constant currency basis: 2.0% to 3.0%
  • Organic revenue growth on a constant currency basis: 3.5% to 4.5%
  • Adjusted EBITDA margin: 42.25% to 42.5%
  • Adjusted EBITDA: $1,470 – $1,490 million (previously $1,460 – $1,480 million)
  • Adjusted earnings per share: $1.47 – $1.58 (previously $1.43 – $1.54)
  • Free cash flow: $595 – $645 million (previously $580 – $630 million)

The estimates reflect the New Nielsen as if the sale of Global Connect occurred on January 1, 2020. The estimates exclude $220 million to $240 million of separation-related costs related to the sale.

With “new growth from new solutions” a part of the new Nielsen, the company notes that it is “progressing towards a single cross-media currency for the global media industry with Nielsen One.”