NEW DELHI :
New York-based global measurement and data analytics company, Nielsen Holdings Plc, said on Thursday that it will split into two independent, publicly-traded companies.
The announcement comes more than a year after Nielsen initiated a strategic review of its business.
The company said it will spin-off its business into two entities—Global Media and Global Connect. The connect business, or consumer insights business, caters to retail and consumer goods firms, while the media business provides television and digital measurement to businesses.
Nielsen Global Media and Nielsen Global Connect are two brands that will continue for the time being.
“Following an extensive review process, which included an in-depth analysis of our businesses, strategies and market opportunities, the Board concluded that separating into two independent, publicly-traded companies is the best path to position each business for long term success and maximize value creation," David Kenny, chief executive officer, Nielsen, said in an e-mail response.
Both businesses “are independently essential to the industries they serve, but each business has unique dynamics". The decision to separate the two will help the companies “serve the specific needs of their clients and successfully address rapidly changing dynamics in the marketplace", he added
The split will apply to over 100 markets where Nielsen is present, Kenny said.
In India, where approximately 85% of Nielsen’s clients are manufacturers or retailers, the separation “will allow us to sharpen our strategy and better serve clients in this complex and changing marketplace". Its media business is robust in India as well, Kenny said. “Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings is the leading digital measurement solution in the market, our currency print measurement service is strong, and we are making great strides in bringing a cross-platform measurement offering to market. Also, our Media business in India is bigger on a headcount basis than revenue."
Once the separation process is complete, Kenny will take over as chief executive officer of the Global Media business. The company said it has begun a search for a chief executive for its connect business. Kenny joined Nielsen in November 2018 as its CEO and chief diversity officer.
The separation could take nine to 12 months to conclude, the company said. Besides, Nielsen Global Connect is expected to raise new debt. It is currently anticipated that substantially all the proceeds of the new debt will be used for debt reduction at Nielsen, the company added.
The move comes amid mounting pressure from American hedge fund Elliott Management Corp., a key shareholder in the over 90-year-old firm, to either spin-off its businesses, or sell some of its services.
In July 2018, Nielsen announced plans for a “strategic review" of its connect business. In September, the same year, Nielsen said it plans to expand its strategic review to include a “broad range of options".
The split will lead to no job losses in India or any other markets, Kenny said. “The decision to separate our global connect business will allow each company to more effectively plan and execute focused growth strategies to serve our clients, implement distinct capital allocation strategies and attract the right investor base."