ComScore takes 4Q loss on Nielsen settlement

February 14, 2012

RESTON, Va. (AP) -- Online research firm comScore Inc. reported a bigger fourth-quarter loss Tuesday after settling a patent lawsuit with Nielsen Holdings NV.

ComScore and Nielsen, which sells data about what people are buying in stores and watching on television, said Dec. 21 that they had settled a patent infringement lawsuit. As part of the settlement, comScore acquired four Nielsen patents and licensed them back to Nielsen, while Nielsen bought $19 million in restricted comScore stock. The companies agreed not to sue each other for patent infringement for the next three years.

ComScore said its fourth-quarter results included $7.8 million in costs related to the Nielsen litigation and the settlement. The company reported a loss of $3.3 million, or 10 cents per share. In the fourth quarter of 2010 it took a loss of $495,000, or 2 cents per share.

Excluding one-time items, comScore said it earned 35 cents per share in profit.

Revenue grew 22 percent, to $62.6 million from $51.2 million.

Analysts expected comScore to report adjusted profit of 28 cents per share and $63.3 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Shares of comScore rose 10 cents Tuesday to close at $23.08 before the earnings announcement. They were flat after hours.

The company said it lost $15.8 million, or 49 cents per share, in 2011 after losing $1.6 million, or 5 cents per share, in 2010. Revenue increased 33 percent, to $232.4 million from $175 million.

For 2012, comScore expects a profit of $7.4 million to $10.7 million before income taxes, and revenue of $277 million to $281.7 million. It forecast revenue of $61.8 million to $62.8 million in the first quarter.

Analysts expect comScore to post pretax income of $15.8 million in 2012, or a profit of $1.12 per share according to generally accepted accounting principles, on revenue of $277.1 million. They are projecting $63.5 million in revenue for the first quarter.