Nielsen Q1 up 13% with Arbitron


NielsenRevenues Q1 were up 12.9% to $1.489 million, or 15.1% on a constant currency basis compared to Q1 2013. Revenues, excluding the impact of the Arbitron and Harris acquisitions, increased 2.8%, or 4.8% on a constant currency basis. The Buy segment grew 3.2%, or 5.9% on a constant currency basis, to $837 million. 

Excluding Harris, revenues grew 3.9% on a constant currency basis, driven in large part by a 7.6% increase in developing market revenues. Information services revenue grew 4.0% on a constant currency basis, due to increased demand for retail measurement around the globe. Insights revenue grew 13.8% on a constant currency basis, or 3.8% excluding Harris, driven by strength in developed and developing markets.

Revenues within the Watch segment increased 28.3%, or 29.4% on a constant currency basis, to $652 million. Excluding the Arbitron acquisition, Watch revenues increased 5.3%, or 6.2% on a constant currency basis, driven by continued strength in audience measurement, including momentum in Digital, and Advertiser Solutions.

Income from continuing operations for Q1 increased 150.0% to $55 million, or 243.8% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2013.  Income from continuing operations per share, on a diluted basis, was $0.15 compared to $0.06 in Q1 2013.

“Nielsen delivered a solid first quarter,” said Mitch Barns, Nielsen CEO. “Our underlying business performance, which was marked by broad-based revenue growth and strong profitability, was enhanced by the ongoing successful integration of Arbitron. Our clear focus on the key business priorities of our diverse global client base continues to produce steady and consistent results while delivering long-term value for our shareholders.”

At the end of the quarter, cash balances were $301 million and gross debt was $6,646 million. Net debt was $6,345 million and our net debt leverage ratio was 3.78x at the end of the first quarter.  Capital expenditures were $77 million for the quarter as compared to $70 million for the first quarter of 2013.

In March, a secondary public offering of 30.0 million shares of our common stock was completed on behalf of certain selling stockholders, primarily comprised of the Sponsor group.  All proceeds went to the selling stockholders and the offering did not have a significant impact on operating results.  Subsequent to this offering, the sponsors hold approximately 25% of our common stock.

In late March and early April, Nielsen refinanced portions of its capital structure, extending the weighted average life to maturity and enhancing financial flexibility.