Sales up, profit down at Nielsen in the first quarter. | Narrative

Driven by gains from its measurement division, Nielsen’s revenue rose 1.6% to $877 million in the first quarter of 2022. Measurement billings rose 2.1% to $645 million, driven by the strength of domestic and digital measurement products in the United States and international markets. Local products, such as local radio and television measurement, “had modest growth” for the fourth consecutive quarter, the company said Thursday.

Revenue from Nielsen’s Impact/Content divisions, which track advertising results for clients, rose 0.4% to $232 million. Management attributed the modest increase to improving short-cycle revenue trends and its sports business in Impact, partially offset by a “timing-related decline” in content.

Costs grew faster than revenues which, combined with the discontinued operations of the $2.7 billion sale of its Global Connect business in March, caused profits to fall by 82%. The measurement giant posted a profit of $105 million, or 29 cents per share, compared with $573 million, or $1.60 per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue beat Wall Street expectations while earnings were higher than expected, driving “NLSN” shares up 2% at midday in New York.

The company reiterated its earlier full-year 2022 guidance for adjusted earnings of between $1.81 and $1.91 per share and revenue growth of around 3.5% to 4.5%.

The earnings report comes a month after Nielsen agreed to sell to a consortium of private equity firms led by Evergreen Coast Capital Corp. – a subsidiary of Elliott Investment Management – and Brookfield Business Partners for $28 per share in a deal valued at $16 billion. With the transaction pending, the company has not held a quarterly call with investors to discuss its financial results.

In a press release, CEO David Kenny called first-quarter performance “solid” and touted the upcoming media measurement service NielsenOne. “We remain confident that Nielsen is uniquely positioned to provide the global media industry with a money-grade, cross-platform measurement solution that aligns with evolving customer needs,” said Kenny.

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