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NetRatings and Jupiter call off merger plans

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Milpitas, Calif.--Online measurement companies NetRatings Inc. and Jupiter Media Metrix Inc. jointly called off merger plans after the Federal Trade Commission said it would challenge the $71 million deal.

NetRatings, which is a unit of VNU NV, The Netherlands, in October announced plans to acquire Internet research rival Jupiter Media Metrix, New York.

Both companies provide online media measurement and research but with differing methodologies. The merger was applauded by many in the online advertising industry as a step toward more consistent measurement.

However, after discussions with FTC staff, during which the regulatory body advised it would challenge the proposed loan deal and rejected alternate loan structures, both companies pulled out of the proposed deal.

In connection with the announcement of its proposed acquisition of Jupiter Media Metrix, NetRatings also said it had agreed to purchase the interests of ACNielsen eRatings.com that it does not currently own. That deal is still in the works.

--Kate Maddox

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