UPDATE: AUGUST 13, 2018 ACTIVIST AT NEILEN
According to published reports in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, activist Elliot Management now owns more than 8% of Nielsen and is attempting to pressure the company to put itself up for sale.
Several private equity firms, perhaps Elliot Management included, sense a quick restructuring and a big profit to be made. It goes without saying that cost-cutting and a reduction-in-force will follow as the night follows the day. This will not be the first time Nielsen has been it play as it was privatized by equity firms in 2006, apparently with an exit strategy that saw the company go public again in 2011. The handwriting is clearly on the wall.
Technology giveth and taketh away …
Few should be surprised that Nielsen Media Research, the iconic media measurement service, plans to lay off at least 724 employees in two Florida location as they transition between the use of paper diaries to record user’s habits and preferences to a fully electronic system. Nielsen will be closing its North Venice, Florida Diary Checking Center with 396 employees being permanently laid off. The remaining 52 employees will be transferred to Nielsen’s Sarasota, Florida office. 328 workers will be laid off at Nielsen’s call center in Oldsmar, Florida.
As consumer devices become web-enabled and can transmit user data to centralized servers, Nielsen’s business model will continue to change forcing Nielsen to purchase data from third-party sources or modify its equipment to intercept and scrape user data from existing devices. There is an upcoming battle between consumers and technology vendors to define which user usage data can be accessed and sold to third-parties under the guise of “improving the user experience” or “precise targeting” to deliver relevant advertising.
Are you asking yourself, Am I Next?