Nielsen stock surges after profit beat, dividend slashed 83% and spinoff plans announced

Shares of Nielsen Holdings PLC surged 4.5% in premarket trading Thursday, after the media measurement company reported third-quarter earnings that topped expectations, but also said it was slashing its dividend by 83% and plans to spin off its Global Connect business to create two independent publicly traded companies. Nielsen swung to a net loss of $472 million, or $1.33 a share, from net income of $96 million, or 27 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, such as a $1.00 billion charge to write down goodwill, adjusted EPS came to 51 cents, above the FactSet consensus of 42 cents. Revenue rose 1.0% to $1.62 billion, just above the FactSet consensus of $1.61 billion. The company cut its quarterly dividend to 6 cents a share from 35 cents, with the new dividend payable Dec. 5 to shareholders of record on Nov. 21. Based on Wednesday’s stock closing price of $20.09, the implied dividend yield falls to 1.19% from 6.97%, which compares with the implied yield for the S&P 500 of 1.93%. Separately, the company said its spin-off plan, which will create two separate Global Media and Global Connect businesses, comes after the conclusion of a strategic review. The stock has tumbled 24.4% over the past 12 months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 9.3%.

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