Comscore enters into agreement with Charter, Qurate Retail and Cerberus

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Comscore Inc.

announced an agreement with

Charter communications Inc.,

Qurate retail Inc.

and private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP aimed at supporting the finances of the struggling media measurement firm and strengthening its business relationships.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Thursday that the companies were close to a deal.

Charter, Qurate and Cerberus will each make a cash investment in exchange for convertible preferred shares. Comscore will use the liquidity to extinguish its debt and improve its liquidity position, he said.

Supported by John Malone’s

Liberty Media Corp.

, Qurate Retail owns the QVC home shopping platforms, HSN and the Zulily e-commerce site, among other retail brands.

The deal will release Comscore from its loan deal with activist investor Starboard Value LP, which placed strict covenants on it requiring it to have a minimum cash balance and high interest payments, as well as repayment terms. of $ 204 million next year, according to securities filings.

Starboard will receive $ 204 million in cash from the proceeds of the investment, as well as accrued interest and 3.15 million common shares. The transaction is subject to shareholder approval.

As part of this agreement, Charter will provide better access to its anonymous data sources and rights.

Comscore also said it is expanding its data agreement with

Comcast.

Comscore, known for its measurement tools for online and local media, as well as movie viewing, has faced a number of challenges in recent years, including executive departures, a accounting scandal and a subsequent Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, which resulted in a settlement of $ 5 million in 2019. The company has also faced growing demand from media and marketing clients for new capabilities to measured.

Since 2019, the Comscore share price has fallen by more than 80%. Its shares jumped nearly 16% Thursday to $ 2.84.

Comscore already has relationships with various cable operators and data providers, including Charter. But the deal could improve Comscore’s access to the treasure trove of audience data from the company’s set-top boxes, helping it better compete with its biggest rival.

Nielsen Holdings

PLC.

Media giants that depend on Nielsen ratings have called for increased competition in media measurement.

Both companies are under tremendous pressure to adapt their services to keep up with rapidly changing media consumption habits.

Comscore end of 2019 appointed Bill Livek as CEO. A few months earlier, Bryan Wiener, the former chief executive, and Sarah Hofstetter, former president, announced their resignations after less than a year in roles, citing disagreements with the board over the execution of company strategy.

Shortly after they left, the company announced layoffs and said it was working to renegotiate data contracts and lower its fixed costs.

Write to Alexandra Bruell at [email protected], Miriam Gottfried at [email protected] and Suzanne Vranica at [email protected]

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