WORD-OF-MOUTH FIRMS CONSOLIDATE UNDER VNU

BuzzMetrics to Buy Rival Intelliseek

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The two best-known services for tracking word-of-mouth on blogs and other consumer-generated media are combining to create an entity that will be majority-owned by Dutch research giant VNU.
BuzzMetrics, in which VNU already had a stake, will acquire Intelliseek, best known for Blogpulse, a system that tracks trends in the blogosphere.
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In a deal announced today, BuzzMetrics, in which VNU already had a stake, will acquire Intelliseek, best known for Blogpulse, a system that tracks trends in the blogosphere. VNU, owner of AC Nielsen and Nielsen Media Research, will take a 50.1% stake in the new company, known as BuzzMetrics.

VNU’s interest in Intelliseek was previously reported by Advertising Age.

Showing interest in word of mouth
The deal comes as marketers, agencies and investors show great interest in companies that execute and measure word-of-mouth marketing. The discipline, once a peripheral part of the marketing mix, has become more important with the rise of media like blogs and podcasts that can be created by average consumers.

In a separate deal last week, BzzAgent closed its first round of institutional venture-capital financing with $13.75 million from firms including General Catalyst Partners and IDG Ventures Boston. And both WPP Group and Aegis Group, owners of ad and media agencies, are known to be eyeing deals in the space.

It’s the third deal in the space for VNU. Last February, VNU picked up an equity interest in Israeli-based Trendum. In September, Trendum bought BuzzMetrics and adopted its name.

Client roster
The new BuzzMetrics client roster includes Canon, Comcast, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., HBO, Kraft, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble Co., according to the company. In a statement, the company said it will continue to market Blogpulse and will be run by CEO Jonathan Carson and President-Chief Operating Officer Mike Nazzaro, who was president-CEO of Intelliseek.

The deal comes as a consortium of private-equity firms, including Hellman & Friedman and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., are in talks to buy out VNU.

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