The retail measurement and consumer panel businesses led Q1 growth for The Nielsen Company, although the TV measurement business in North America also posted growth. And, as you would expect, CFO Brian West declined to comment when an analyst asked about recent reports that the company is preparing for an IPO.
Nielsen already has public bonds, but no public stock since it was taken private in 2006 by a group of private equity firms. Asked about the IPO reports, West dismissed such talk as “rumor and speculation.”
For Q1, total revenues for the Nielsen Company increased 8.5% to $1.2 billion. Adjusted for currency fluctuations, that was a 4% increase. Operating income rose 18.5% to $132 million, which was an 8.6% gain on a constant currency basis.
Under the company’s new segment reporting system, the “Watch” segment, which includes its TV, radio, online and mobile ratings businesses, posted 3% revenue growth (but flat constant currency) to $405 million. Watch is still the most profitable segment, at $70 million of adjusted operating income, up 6% from a year ago (3% common currency). West sighted growth in the company’s North American TV ratings and the online/mobile business as the drivers.
The biggest revenue segment is “Buy,” consisting of Nielsen’s retail measurement and consumer panel businesses. Buy revenues rose 13% (6.5% constant currency) to $742 million. Adjusted operating income rose 29% (15% constant currency) to $64 million.
Last and definitely least, the Expositions business (now standing alone after divestiture of Nielsen’s trade publications) saw revenues drop 9.7% (10.1% constant currency) to $49 million. Adjusted operating income, however, rose 26.7% (32.7% constant currency) to $19 million. West noted that the company’s trade shows are beginning to see a pick-up in attendance, but he said the Exposition business is typically the last to recover from a recession.