— By Staff Reports—
The multimedia ratings agency known as Nielsen had a rude awakening on Monday as an activist (err “corporate raider”) known as Elliott Management has been essentially ordered to sell themselves out.
The New York firm had put in $660 million, according to a filing, The Wall Street Journal got wind of this, stating a stake into the company by the firm and urging to sellout was in the works.
The stock on Monday’s close went up several percentage points, in the morning’s extended hours trading, it was up 16%. The Journal reported the stock lost 25% on one intraday basis due to having it’s worst quarter in memory. The CFO “stated was one of the most challenging quarters for our business in over a decade.” WSJ claims “He cited challenging conditions for consumer-packaged-goods clients, which hurt its ‘buy’ business, which measures retail and consumer behavior.”
Nielsen had been taken private in 2006, to then go public again in 2011, some of these deals tend to be levearge buyouts which in turn are not good for the overall company’s health and employees. Univision, Toys ‘R Us, and that lovely All-American UC vendor, Avaya got suckered into these deals. It’s not clear wether Nielsen would go into a leveraged buyout, if you are going to sell yourself out like what this corporate raider wants, the only logical option is private equity.
The press has been fixated as this company well known for measuring generations of TV watchers traditionally measuring habits in “diaries” that later went to “people meters” (not every major TV market is using this 30+ year old technology for reasons outside the scope of this article.) A year after going public, Nielsen tied the knot with the competitor Arbitron, known for radio ratings, and went into multimedia after the merger due to an underrated technology known as the Portable People Meter, a technology that uses “audio watermark” that only machines can hear, these pager sized devices can detect an individual radio or TV station and check it instead of filing quarterly diaries.
But apparently no one cares about the PPM, because the press characterized Nielsen as the “TV ratings company”, and not the consumer measurement, radio, or audio ratings…”it’s known for that pesky TV meter” says CNBC indirectly!