NETRATINGS PULLS PLUG ON JUPITER BUY

$71 Million Deal Faced FTC Challenge

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- NetRatings, the Internet audience measurement service, has pulled the plug on its plan to acquire rival Jupiter Media Metrix, the company said today.

NetRatings, Milpitas, Calif., had hoped to acquire Jupiter for $71 million last October, but the Federal Trade Commission had indicated it would seriously challenge the loan and security agreement that both companies entered into as part of the acquisition agreement.

The deal included

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a loan to Jupiter of up to $25 million.

Jupiter said today it will "explore strategic options" through consultant Robertson Stephens.

Jupiter's stock fell almost 70% today after closing Feb. 15 at 81 cents, down from a 52-week high of just $5.50.

NetRatings'stock was trading at $15.15 today, up more than $1 on the news. Its 52-week high is $16.60. The company is majority-owned by VNU, which owns its stake via the ACNielsen and Nielsen Media Research units.

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