P&G MOVES $30 MILLION ACCOUNT TO ACNIELSEN

Scanner Data Business Was With IRI

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Procter & Gamble Co. today said it will move its U.S. scanner data business, estimated at around $30 million annually, from Information Resources Inc. to VNU's ACNielsen Corp. in a deal that moves what's believed to be the biggest account in the global market-research business.

The five-year deal with ACNielsen is to begin July 1, ending a P&G relationship with IRI that spanned 10 years, including, most recently, a three-year contract that began in 2000.

IRI's biggest account
An IRI spokeswoman said the company

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retains "substantial analytic and ad hoc" business with P&G, but industry executives said the U.S. scanner data account was by far the largest piece of P&G's business with IRI and that company's biggest account.

IRI's stock closed today at an all-time low of $2.15, down 28%.

ACNielsen already handled most of P&G's consumer panel data in the U.S. and other retail measurement business in much of Europe and all of Asia.

"This decision is really a reflection of ACNielsen's commitment to developing a U.S. market-measurement solution that provides accurate and comprehensive data," a P&G spokeswoman said.

'Surprised and disappointed'
"Obviously, we are surprised and disappointed with Procter & Gamble's decision," said Joe Durrett, IRI chairman-CEO, in a statement. He said IRI will "fully determine and take the necessary actions required" to offset the loss of the business over the next six months as IRI's contract winds down.

The decision follows IRI's internal announcement earlier this week that it is eliminating around 200 jobs from its workforce of 4,000 through a combination of layoffs and leaving open positions unfilled. The IRI spokeswoman said the layoffs weren't connected to the P&G decision.

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