Why Nielsen Holdings Shares Got Crushed Today

By Markets Fool.com

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What happened

Shares of Nielsen Holdings (NYSE: NLSN) dropping today, down 14% as of 11:40 a.m. EDT, after the company reported third-quarter earnings that came in shy of the market's expectations.

So what

Revenue in the third quarter grew a modest 2.5% to $1.57 billion, which was a hair shy of the $1.59 billion in sales that analysts were modeling for. Adjusted earnings per share was $0.74, also below the forecasts of $0.76 per share. The company said that profitability was hurt by higher restructuring charges associated with exiting non-core services, while also acknowledging a challenging market environment. Management was also disappointed with its performance in developed markets, particularly the U.S.

Now what

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Nielsen remains highly leveraged, with $446 million in cash on the balance sheet compared to nearly $8 billion in debt. Earlier this month, the company amended its credit agreement to increase its borrowing capacity, and refinanced some existing debt. That isn't stopping the company from repurchasing stock, though, buying back $90 million worth of shares during the quarter. Guidance also left a little to be desired, updating full-year outlook of 3.5% to 4% growth in revenue on a constant currency basis. Adjusted earnings per share should be $2.73 to $2.79, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.87.

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Evan Niu, CFA has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.