Forrester's acquisition of Jupiter gets positive reviews

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Marketing professionals and industry watchers applauded Forrester Research's acquisition of JupiterResearch last month—a deal that brings together two powerhouses in marketing and IT research. The deal, valued at $23 million in cash and assumed liabilities, is subject to post-closing adjustments. Under the acquisition, JupiterResearch will become part of Forrester's marketing and strategy client group. Forrester provides syndicated research and analysis to marketing and technology executives across 19 job titles. Last year, the company reported revenue of $212.1 million. Jupiter also provides business professionals with syndicated research and analysis backed by proprietary data, as well as market forecasting. Jupiter had revenue of almost $14.0 million last year. During Forrester's second- quarter earnings call on July 31, Chairman-CEO George Colony said the alliance makes sense financially, and offers the opportunity to add content and access to new clients for cross-selling opportunities. He also mentioned the cultural fit between the Forrester and Jupiter teams. “Uniting JupiterResearch and Forrester brings together the two leading research brands used by marketing and strategy executives,” Colony said. “JupiterResearch enhances our existing role-based strategy and offerings to bring unprecedented value to Forrester's marketing and strategy clients.” Industry observers and marketing professionals said the deal will provide synergies between the two research companies and should bring benefits to marketing and technology professionals. “It has been a long time coming,” said Louise Garnett, VP-lead analyst at Outsell Inc., a research and advisory service for publishing and information industries. “They both cover the marketing profession, and Jupiter has been covering the Web since its beginning. One of the advantages that Forrester is getting is a strong data asset from Jupiter,” she said. “Most important is that rather than competing with each other, now they are together in terms of penetrating the market.” Garnett said that while there is much consolidation going on in the research industry, such as Gartner's acquisition of Meta Group in 2005, this deal is more synergistic in nature. “We don't see this as much a consolidation as that Forrester is adding more sales force resources. Forrester is acquiring clients and a sales forces that is used to calling on Fortune 1,000 companies.” Forrester and Jupiter clients, as well as prospective clients, said the combination should result in more comprehensive services. “Recently, we were looking at working with Jupiter, as they appeared to have more robust coverage of the social/viral marketing area,” said Dave Rowe, VP-media director at Doremus San Francisco, a full-service b-to-b marketing agency that currently subscribes to Forrester Research. “We're hoping that together, the merged entity will provide even better research in this area.” Mike O'Toole, exec VP-partner at PJA Advertising+Marketing, Cambridge, Mass., said the acquisition will make it easier for marketers to get comprehensive research from one source. “From my clients' perspective, you hate to have to subscribe to Forrester and Jupiter to get a slightly different take on marketing,” he said. PJA subscribes to Gartner for IT research, and buys individual reports from Forrester for marketing research. “Forrester is very strong on marketing. Jupiter has been good, although they have been more focused on consumer technologies. This will make it easier for agencies and clients to subscribe to one company and get the whole perspective.” Charles Rutstein, COO at Forrester Research, said that while there will be some client overlap as a result of the acquisition, the acquisition will open up opportunities to sell into different areas of the same client base, as well as bring on hundreds of new clients. “We have some of the same companies as clients, but different individuals within these companies are using the seats [licenses]—therein lies the opportunity,” Rutstein said. “We might have the marketing organization in one client and the IT shop in the other client, so we can cross-sell.” He said the plan is to retain all Jupiter analysts and client-facing individuals, though there may be small reductions in back-office functions. “We will deploy these assets to cover things we didn't cover before to add more weight and depth to things we do in those roles,” Rutstein said. “This deal is fundamentally about growth—we need to get our hands on as many analysts of this caliber as we possibly can.” Jupiter's Web site and branded products will remain in place for the rest of the year and will be integrated into Forrester beginning next year.
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