ComScore Is Said to Explore Options Including Potential Sale

(Bloomberg) -- ComScore Inc. is working with financial advisers to explore options including a potential sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company, which tracks online viewership and box-office performance of Hollywood films, is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to reach out to potential suitors including buyout firms, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. No formal sale process has started and ComScore may choose not to proceed with any changes, the people said. The stock jumped by the most in 16 months.

Representatives for ComScore and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

ComScore, based in Reston, Virginia, hasn’t held an annual meeting since 2015 amid an accounting probe into how it booked some types of revenue. In September, ComScore agreed to add four new independent directors to its board, settling a dispute with activist investor Starboard Value LP. Starboard disclosed a stake in the company in July and filed a lawsuit pushing it to hold a meeting to elect directors.

Shares of ComScore surged as much as 7.8 percent, the most since September 2016, before trading up 5.3 percent to $24.91 as of 9:35 a.m. in New York trading.

This month, ComScore also issued $150 million in convertible debt to Starboard in exchange for $85 million in cash and $65 million in stock.

ComScore’s stock has been under pressure since the company announced the review of its financials in February 2016 that later revealed insufficient public disclosures about its performance. Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Gian Fulgoni left the company in November, followed by the departure of its chief operating officer in December. ComScore said at the time it planned to eliminate about 10 percent of its workforce as it pulled out of some regions and reduced costs.

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