Nielsen reports higher revenue in Q3, but net income falls 7%
As of September 30, 2016, Nielsen’s cash and cash equivalents were $446 million and gross debt was $7,957 million.
NEW YORK, NY – October 25, 2016 — Nielsen Holdings plc today announced third quarter 2016 results. Revenues were $1,570 million for the third quarter of 2016, up 2.5%, or 3.6% on a constant currency basis, compared to the third quarter of 2015.
“Our revenue grew in the third quarter, despite a more challenging environment, highlighting the strength of our balanced portfolio. In the Watch segment, market adoption of Total Audience continues to grow at a healthy clip. Digital Content Ratings are now fully syndicated and the industry is moving forward to a new ratings standard anchored by our Total Audience Measurement system, which is well-positioned to play an important role in the 2017 upfronts,” said Mitch Barns, Chief Executive Officer of Nielsen.
Barns continued, “In the Buy segment, while emerging markets continued to produce top-line growth, our results in the developed markets were disappointing, particularly in the U.S. Many of our clients are seeking efficiency and productivity in the face of a challenging growth environment. Given these evolving needs, we are realigning our portfolio by exiting non-core services, reallocating resources and accelerating our investments in our strategic initiatives to help our clients grow and to better position our business for the future. In short, our Buy business is working through a process of change that is similar to what we’ve been executing on successfully in our Watch business.”
Net income for the third quarter of 2016 decreased 7.0%, or 8.3% on a constant currency basis, to $132 million, compared to the third quarter of 2015, as solid operating earnings were offset primarily by higher restructuring charges. Net income for the third quarter of 2016 included restructuring charges of $29 million, primarily in our Buy segment. Net income per share on a diluted basis decreased to $0.36, compared to $0.38 for the third quarter of 2015.
Adjusted Net Income for the third quarter of 2016 increased 3.9%, or 3.1% on a constant currency basis, to $266 million compared to the third quarter of 2015. Adjusted Net Income per share on a diluted basis grew 7.2% to $0.74, or 5.7% on a constant currency basis, for the third quarter of 2016 compared to $0.69 in the third quarter of 2015.
Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of 2016 increased 4.0%, on a reported and constant currency basis, to $498 million, compared to the third quarter of 2015. Adjusted EBITDA margins grew 43 basis points, or 10 basis points on a constant currency basis, to 31.7%, due to the benefit of our ongoing productivity initiatives and the operating leverage of the business.
Revenues within the Buy segment for the third quarter of 2016 decreased 0.9% to $809 million, but increased 0.9% on a constant currency basis. Buy revenues in developed markets decreased 3.7%, or 2.5% on a constant currency basis, due to softness in our discretionary services, especially in the U.S. market, as well as portfolio pruning initiatives which target slow growth and non-core services. Buy emerging markets revenues increased 5.5%, or 8.5% on a constant currency basis, as our global footprint, coverage expansion and broad product offerings continue to position us well with both local and multinational clients.
Revenues within the Watch segment for the third quarter of 2016 increased 6.4%, or 6.7% on a constant currency basis, to $761 million. Audience Measurement of Video and Text revenues increased 8.3%, or 8.5% on a constant currency basis, primarily due to our ongoing investments and continued client adoption of our Total Audience Measurement framework. Audio revenues decreased 2.8% on a reported and constant currency basis due to timing of deliveries. Marketing Effectiveness had another strong quarter, growing revenues by 27.9%, or 31.8% on a constant currency basis, due to our continued investments in our product portfolio and clients’ growing demand for our marketing ROI and precision targeting tools. Other Watch revenues decreased 14.6%, or 16.3% on a constant currency basis, due to the sale of the National Research Group, Inc., which was completed in the fourth quarter of 2015. Excluding Other Watch, our Watch segment grew 7.9%, or 8.4% on a constant currency basis, for the quarter.
As of September 30, 2016, Nielsen’s cash and cash equivalents were $446 million and gross debt was $7,957 million. Net debt (gross debt less cash and cash equivalents) was $7,511 million and our net debt leverage ratio was 3.91x at the end of the third quarter. Net capital expenditures were $103 million for the third quarter of 2016, compared to $107 million in the third quarter of 2015.
Cash flow from operations increased to $456 million for the third quarter of 2016 from $454 million in the third quarter of 2015. Free cash flow for the third quarter of 2016 increased to $353 million, from $347 million in the third quarter of 2015. Cash flow performance was driven by our continued focus on working capital management and timing of capital expenditures.
In October 2016, Nielsen entered into an amendment to its credit agreement, which provided for an incremental facility of Class B-2 Euro Term Loans in an aggregate principal amount of €380 million, maturing in April 2021. Proceeds were used to replace or refinance the existing Class B-2 Euro Term Loans, and to repay certain other indebtedness. The amendment also provided for a new class of term loans in an aggregate principal amount of $1.9 billion, maturing in October 2023. Proceeds were used to replace or refinance in full a like amount of existing Class B-1 Term Loans maturing May 30, 2017 and Class B-2 Dollar Term Loans maturing April 15, 2021 and to repay certain other indebtedness.
The company repurchased $90 million of shares of its common stock during the third quarter of 2016. The company has a total of $460 million remaining for repurchase under the existing share repurchase program, which it anticipates largely utilizing by the end of 2017.
2016 Full Year Guidance
Based on third quarter performance and our outlook for the remainder of the year in developed Buy, we are updating our 2016 full year guidance for total revenue growth on a constant currency basis to 3.5% – 4.0%, Adjusted EBITDA Margin Growth to 30 basis points, Adjusted Net Income Per Share to $2.73 – $2.79 and Free Cash Flow to approximately $850 million. A reconciliation of these forward-looking non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure has not been provided in reliance on Item 10(e)(1)(i)(B) of Regulation S-K because such reconciliation is not available without unreasonable efforts as a result of certain of the adjustments utilized, including the impact of foreign exchange and income taxes.