Comscore Stock Has Fallen 85 Percent Since CEO Resigned, Cash Infusion From Cayman Island Fund

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Written by Dana Sanchez
Comscore
Traders James Riley, left, and Jeffrey Vazquez work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. Stock prices rose Thursday as investors braced for the next development in the U.S.-Chinese trade war, which has caused volatility in world markets this week, and after Beijing reported a rise in exports, easing some concerns about its economic slowdown. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Comscore’s syndicated digital audience-measurement business is in decline, and the company’s interim CEO is “exploring all strategic options” after missing on revenue in the last quarter, AdAge reported.

The company promotes itself as “the trusted currency for planning, transacting, and evaluating media across platforms.”

Its stock fell 85 percent since CEO Bryan Wiener and President Sarah Hofstetter resigned in March in a dispute with the board, prompting speculation of a takeover. The company lost more than $1.2 billion in market capitalization.

Finding a new CEO is a priority for the board, interim CEO Dale Fuller said at a recent earnings meeting. He said he wants to get back to retirement.

About a quarter of the firm’s $1.2-billion decrease happened after the company announced a $20 million cash infusion from Cayman Islands fund CVI Investments. That infusion will give the fund a 20 percent stake in the company, Ad Age reported.

In an earnings meeting this week, analysts asked whether Comscore would consider selling its movie box office measurement business, which is growing and market-dominant, or its declining syndicated digital audience measurement business. “We are exploring all strategic options,” Fuller said.

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Comscore has been focusing on emerging categories in advanced TV, including “under-addressable” TV, which is more measurable linear content, and cross-platform ratings for digital video, video on demand and TV, AdExchanger reported.

The company cut 10 percent of its workforce this quarter, which will save $20 million in the next year and free up resources to focus on emerging growth. Fuller predicted the company will be cash-flow positive by the end of 2019.

Comscore won a multiyear measurement contract with AT&T’s Xandr, whose addressable advertising consortium includes WarnerMedia and inventory from Altice and Frontier.

Local TV ratings are also moving in Comscore’s favor, Fuller said. In the past year, three major distributors switched station ratings from Nielsen – Nexstar, Scripps and Gray.

“As we roll out products and show those (results) and new partnerships, it will start to show that this could be a growth story,” Fuller said.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs, which helped handle the CVI investment, is working with Comscore.