Comscore announced a deal late Thursday that would leave the long-embattled media measurement company debt free and publicly held without having to sell its digital audience or box office measurement businesses.
The deal brings in three new investors—including private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management; home shopping and e-commerce player Qurate Retail; and cable operator Charter Communications—none of which will own more than 16.6% of Comscore. Their combined investment will essentially eliminate debt and buy out the interest of hedge fund investor Starboard Capital.
“It cleans up our balance sheet. We have essentially no debt,” said Comscore CEO Bill Livek in an interview. “If you look at the measurement space, having debt really saddles a company.”
While Livek didn’t bring up principal competitor Nielsen by name, Nielsen Global Media, which like Comscore is looking to invest in new technology behind cross-media measurement, in November announced the sale of its Nielsen Connect consumer and retail measurement and analytics business to raise $2.7 billion that will retire a portion of its $8 billion in debt.