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Media Nielsen

Nielsen to separate media and retail businesses

By Andrew Blustein, Reporter

November 7, 2019 | 3 min read

Nielsen has announced that it will spin-off its retail measurement business to create two separately traded companies.

Nielsen is splitting its Global Media and Global Connect businesses

Nielsen to separate media and retail businesses / Nielsen

The measurement company is splitting its global media business from its global connect business. Nielsen chief executive officer David Kenny will remain as boss of the media measurement business.

"Both the Global Media and Global Connect businesses are independently essential to the industries they serve, but each business has unique dynamics,” said Kenny.

“Our decision to separate them marks a milestone in our strategic evolution and will best position each to serve the specific needs of their clients and successfully address rapidly changing dynamics in the marketplace. As two independent companies, we can better drive decision making with velocity and push key initiatives to accelerate performance enhancements of each business."

Nielsen expects to complete the spin-off in nine to 12 months. A search has begun for the chief executive of the Global Connect business.

Nielsen restructured its media and retail groups in February following what the company called a “challenging year” financially. Nielsen had already been conducting a review of its assets.

Elliot Management, a large investor in Nielsen, said the split will “unlock substantial valuation upside” for both businesses and, in particular, highlight the media business as a faster-growing, more profitable group.

“Separating into two companies represents the best path forward for Nielsen’s business and its shareholders, and we believe it will lead to substantial value creation,” said Elliott partner Jesse Cohn. “By separating into two independent companies, Nielsen is better able to position both its media and retail measurement franchises for long-term success with differential investment, profitability, capital return and strategic frameworks.”

Nielsen is reorganizing just as measurement rival Comscore has named a new chief executive officer.

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