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NLSN > SEC Filings for NLSN > Form 10-Q on 22-Oct-2012All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for NIELSEN HOLDINGS N.V.



Quarterly Report

Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations


The following discussion and analysis supplements management's discussion and analysis of Nielsen Holdings N.V. ("the Company" or "Nielsen") for the year ended December 31, 2011 as contained in the Annual Report on Form 10-K filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 22, 2012, and presumes that readers have read or have access to such discussion and analysis. The following discussion and analysis should also be read together with the accompanying Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes thereto. Further, this report may contain material that includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that reflect, when made, Nielsen's current views with respect to current events and financial performance. Statements, other than those based on historical facts, which address activities, events or developments that we expect or anticipate may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to many risks, uncertainties and factors relating to Nielsen's operations and business environment that may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results, express or implied, by such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to, those set forth in this Item 2 and Part II, Item 1A, if any, and those noted in our 2011 Annual Report on Form 10-K under "Risk Factors." Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this report or as of the date they were made. We disclaim any intention to update the current expectations or forward-looking statements contained in this report. Unless required by context, references to "we", "us", and "our" refer to Nielsen and each of its consolidated subsidiaries.

Background and Executive Summary

We are a global information and measurement company that provides clients with a comprehensive understanding of consumers and consumer behavior. We deliver critical media and marketing information, analytics and industry expertise about what consumers buy (referred to herein as "Buy") and what consumers watch on a global and local basis (consumer interaction across the television, online and mobile viewing platforms referred to herein as "Watch"). Our information, insights and solutions help our clients maintain and strengthen their market positions and identify opportunities for profitable growth. We have a presence in approximately 100 countries, including many developing and emerging markets, and hold leading market positions in many of our services and geographies.

We believe that important measures of our results of operations include revenue, operating income and Adjusted EBITDA (defined below). Our long-term financial objectives include consistent revenue growth and expanding operating margins. Accordingly, we are focused on geographic market and service offering expansion to drive revenue growth and improving operating efficiencies including effective resource utilization, information technology leverage and overhead cost management.

Our business strategy is built upon a model that has traditionally yielded consistent revenue performance. Typically, before the start of each year, nearly 70% of our annual revenue has been committed under contracts in our combined Buy and Watch segments, which provides us with a high degree of stability to our revenue and allows us to effectively manage our profitability and cash flows. We continue to look for growth opportunities through global expansion, specifically within developing markets, as well as through the cross-platform expansion of our insights services and measurement services.

Our restructuring and other productivity initiatives have been focused on a combination of improving operating leverage through targeted cost-reduction programs, business process improvements and portfolio restructuring actions, while at the same time investing in key programs to enhance future growth opportunities.

Achieving our business objectives requires us to manage a number of key risk areas. Our growth objective of geographic market and service expansion requires us to maintain the consistency and integrity of our information and underlying processes on a global scale, and to invest effectively our capital in technology and infrastructure to keep pace with our clients' demands and our competitors. Our operating footprint across approximately 100 countries requires disciplined global and local resource management of internal and third party providers to ensure success. In addition, our high level of indebtedness requires active management of our debt profile, with a focus on underlying maturities, interest rate risk, liquidity and operating cash flows.

Business Segment Overview

Our Buy and Watch segments, which together generate substantially all of our revenues, are built on a foundation of proprietary data assets that are designed to yield essential information and insights for our clients to successfully measure, analyze and grow their businesses.


Table of Contents

Our Buy segment provides Information services, which include our core tracking and scan data (primarily transactional measurement data and consumer behavior information), and Insights services (primarily comprised of our analytical solutions) to businesses in the consumer packaged goods industry. Our services also enable our clients to better manage their brands, uncover new sources of demand, launch and grow new products, analyze their sales, improve their marketing mix and establish more effective consumer relationships. Our data is used by our clients to measure their market share, tracking billions of sales transactions per month in retail outlets around the world. Our extensive database of retail and consumer information, combined with our advanced analytical capabilities, helps generate strategic insights that influence our clients' key business decisions. Within our Buy segment, we have two primary geographic groups, developed and developing markets. Developed markets primarily include the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Japan and Australia while developing markets include Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia, China, India and Southeast Asia.

Our Watch segment provides viewership data and analytics primarily to the media and advertising industries across television, online and mobile screens. Our Watch data is used by our media clients to understand their audiences, establish the value of their advertising inventory and maximize the value of their content, and by our advertising clients to plan and optimize their spending. We are a leader in providing cross-platform measurement services.

Our Expositions segment operates one of the largest portfolios of business-to-business trade shows and conference events in the United States. Each year, we produce more than 40 trade shows and conference events, which in 2011 connected over 300,000 buyers and sellers across 20 industries.

Certain corporate costs, other than those described above, including those related to selling, finance, legal, human resources, and information technology systems, are considered operating costs and are allocated to our segments based on either the actual amount of costs incurred or on a basis consistent with the operations of the underlying segment.

Factors Affecting Our Financial Results

Acquisitions and Investments in Affiliates

For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, we paid cash consideration of $136 million associated with both current period and previously executed acquisitions, net of cash acquired. Had the current period acquisitions occurred as of January 1, 2012, the impact on our consolidated results of operations would not have been material.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2011, we paid cash consideration of $114 million associated with both current period and previously executed acquisitions, net of cash acquired. Had that period's acquisitions occurred as of January 1, 2011, the impact on our consolidated results of operations would not have been material.

Foreign Currency

Our financial results are reported in U.S. dollars and are therefore subject to the impact of movements in exchange rates on the translation of the financial information of individual businesses whose functional currencies are other than U.S. dollars. Our principal foreign exchange revenue exposure is spread across several currencies, primarily the Euro. The table below sets forth the profile of our revenue by principal currency.

                                           Nine Months Ended
                                             September 30,
                                           2012           2011
                      U.S. Dollar              53 %          50 %
                      Euro                     12 %          14 %
                      Other Currencies         35 %          36 %

Total 100 % 100 %

As a result, fluctuations in the value of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar impact our operating results. Impacts associated with fluctuations in foreign currency are discussed in more detail under "Item 3.-Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk." In countries with currencies other than the U.S. dollar, assets and liabilities are translated into U.S. dollars using end-of-period exchange rates; revenues, expenses and cash flows are translated using average rates of exchange. The average U.S. dollar to Euro exchange rate was $1.28 to 1.00 and $1.41 to 1.00 for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively. Constant currency growth rates used in the following discussion of results of operations eliminate the impact of year-over-year foreign currency fluctuations.


Table of Contents

We evaluate our results of operations on both an as reported and a constant currency basis. The constant currency presentation is a non-GAAP financial measure, which excludes the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. We believe providing constant currency information provides valuable supplemental information regarding our results of operations, consistent with how we evaluate our performance. We calculate constant currency percentages by converting our prior-period local currency financial results using the current period foreign currency exchange rates and comparing these adjusted amounts to our current period reported results. This calculation may differ from similarly-titled measures used by others and, accordingly, the constant currency presentation is not meant to be a substitution for recorded amounts presented in conformity with GAAP nor should such amounts be considered in isolation.

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