VNU strikes $2.7 bil deal to buy Nielsen Media Reseach

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The deal, announced Aug. 16, places the two leading databases on competitive advertising expenditures--VNU's Competitive Media Reporting and Nielsen Media Research's Monitor-Plus--under one ownership. It also sets the stage for Nielsen Media Research to compete directly with ACNielsen Corp. in TV measurement outside North America; the companies became separate in November 1996. ACNielsen operates TV measurement in 19 countries, and a spokesman for that company said it will be difficult for Nielsen Media Research to catch up there.

A Nielsen Media Research spokeswoman said it is expected it will operate as a division of VNU and that the Dutch company has requested that all its senior management remain. Many details still need to be worked out, the spokeswoman added.

Media buyers expressed concern that the deal could limit competition, especially in advertising measurement. "That is one area where we actually have competition in the marketplace, and now that's gone away, too," said Joanne Burke, managing director at Carat Insight, New York.

David Poltrack, CBS exec VP-planning and research, supported NVU's acquisition. "They are people who have a commitment to the research business," he said. "It could have been somebody just trying to pick up an attrcative asset."

Copyright August 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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