Nielsen's Q4 Earnings Miss Estimates, Revenues Beat

Nielsen’s operating expenses, namely selling, general and administrative expenses,were $507 million, increasing 6.1% from the year-ago figure.

Adjusted EBITDA was $488 million in the fourth quarter, decreasing 15.3% from the prior-year level. Also, Adjusted EBITDA margin contracted 328 bps to 29.4% due to softer revenues, along with continued investments in Buy and Watch segments, partly offset by productivity initiatives.

Balance Sheet & Cash Flow

Nielsen exited the quarter with a cash balance of approximately $524 million compared with $446 million in the last reported quarter.

Net debt (gross debt excluding cash and cash equivalents) was $7.86 billion, and net debt leverage ratio was 4.25 at the end of 2018.

Cash flow from operations was $546 million, capex totaled $149 million and free cash flow amounted to $397 million in the fourth quarter.

Guidance

Management issued its guidance for full-year 2019. It expects total revenues to be approximately $6.4 billion on a constant-currency basis. Adjusted earnings per share are expected to remain in the range of $1.63-$1.77 per share.

The company expects free cash flow in the range of $525-$575 million.

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