In re Nielsen Holdings PLC Securities Litigation

Updated: April 22, 2019
Status: Ongoing Case

Labaton Sucharow LLP has been appointed lead counsel in a securities class action against Nielsen Holdings plc (“Nielsen” or the “Company”), and certain of its senior executives (collectively, “Defendants”). The action asserts claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and SEC Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, on behalf of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Nielsen common stock between February 11, 2016 and July 25, 2018, inclusive (the “Class Period”).

Nielsen provides its customers with analytical data to assist in their comprehensive understanding of what products consumers buy and what programming consumers watch. Nielsen divides its business into two segments: (1) Buy; and (2) Watch. The Company’s Buy segment tracks millions of retail transactions around the world and transforms this data into various products that assist consumer packaged goods (“CPG”) companies in their marketing decisions. Nielsen’s Watch segment “provides viewership and listening data and analytics primarily to the media and advertising industries across the television, radio, print, online, digital, mobile viewing and listening platforms.”

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, Defendants failed to disclose that: (1) Buy segment sales were experiencing a permanent decline due to major budget cuts instituted by the Company’s CPG customers; (2) the Company’s CPG clients were reducing and cancelling Nielsen custom project work in favor of real-time analytical solutions; (3) the Company recklessly disregarded its readiness for and the true risks of privacy related regulations and policies, including the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), on its current and future financial and growth prospects; (4) the Company’s financial performance was far more dependent on Facebook and other third-party large data set providers than previously disclosed and privacy policy changes affected the scope and terms of access Nielsen would have to third-party data; (5) access to Facebook and other third-party provider data was becoming increasingly restricted for Nielsen and its clients; and (6) as a result, the Company’s positive statements about its business, operations, and financial conditions lacked a reasonable basis.

The complaint also alleges the truth regarding Nielsen’s struggling business and financial condition was revealed through a series of disclosures culminating on July 26, 2018, when Nielsen announced disappointing results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2018. Nielsen attributed these disappointing results to the negative impact that the GDPR and other privacy regulations had on its business and the continued underperformance of its Buy segment. In addition, Nielsen announced that it had opened an in-depth strategic review of its Buy segment and that its Chief Executive Officer would retire at the end of 2018. On this news, the Company’s stock price fell $7.46 per share, or more than 25 percent, to close at $22.11 per share on July 26, 2018.

The case is In re Nielsen Holdings PLC Securities Litigation, No. 18-cv-07143 (S.D.N.Y.). Labaton Sucharow represents lead plaintiff Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi. The Defendants are Nielsen, and CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors Dwight Mitchell Burns, its CFO Jamere Jackson, its Senior Vice President of Product Leadership Kelly Abcarian, and its former Global President and COO Stephen Hasker.


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