ComScore's Stock Takes A Hit – And Is Delisted – Following Audit Delays

comscore-wall-stComScore disclosed Monday evening that it’s been delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange, effective Wednesday, after failing to meet another accounting deadline.

ComScore has struggled with an internal audit mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission since February 2016, when the digital measurement firm first notified the agency that it would miss a filing deadline set for March of that year.

The issue stems from comScore's apparently flawed financial disclosures relating to barter deals.

From 2013 to 2016, when the company finalized its merger with Rentrak, it reported nonmonetary transactions (meaning the exchange of services and data, but not actual revenue) as revenue. For instance, the audit committee uncovered comScore’s 2015 revenue should have been $340 million, $29 million less than it reported at the time.

ComScore attributed its filing delay to the magnitude of “accounting judgments and estimates for transactions that occurred during 2013-2016” in a news release.

The company did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

"While we are disappointed with the pending delisting, our growth prospects remain robust,” CEO Gian Fulgoni said in a statement. “We are confident that we have the right strategy and team in place to execute on our company's exciting vision."

Fulgoni took over as CEO last year, when then-CEO Serge Matta was replaced following a Wall Street Journal report on comScore’s “nonmonetary revenue.”

Former CFO Mel Wesley was replaced last year along with Matta, and Seeking Alpha reported on damaging optics when COO Cameron Meierhoefer and general counsel Christiana Lin sold an unusually large amount of personal stock after comScore missed its first audit deadline.

Regardless of the eventual audit results, "what's really hurt comScore is that management has been forced to focus on this instead of on growth initiatives or on competing with Nielsen," said Brian Wieser, a senior research analyst covering internet and advertising stocks investments for Pivotal Research Group.

ComScore said it wants finalize its audit and appeal Nasdaq’s decision to delist its stock by this summer.

“In the near future, Gian and I plan to update the investor community on our strategic direction and product road map,” said CFO David Chemerow in comScore’s release. “And once we are current with our filings we look forward to providing further details on our financial performance and outlook."

1 Comment

  1. On its face, it seems that ComScore is in dire condition. Can a company in the business of measurement, monitoring and reporting as a purportedly disinterested neutral party be relied upon by the industry it tracks, if it's own financial practices are in disarray? Does this credibility problem put ComScore's reputation and even survival in doubt?

    Reply

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