Media ratings and research firm Nielson is buying competitor Arbitron for $1.6 billion. Regulators will certainly look closely at the deal, which combines the dominate ratings resource in TV (Nielson) with radio's top ratings provider (Arbitron).
With media consumption spread across far broader range of media, Nielson and other ratings firms are reconfiguring what they measure and how. Yesterday Nielson announced a partnership with Twitter to create the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” to measure a program's engagement.
The Arbitron deal will help Nielsen "better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, including streaming audio and out-of-home," ssid Nielsen CEO David Calhoun in a statement. "The high level of engagement with radio and TV among rapidly growing multicultural audiences makes this central to Nielsen’s priorities.”
Nielsen has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Arbitron for $48 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 26% to Arbitron’s closing price on December 17, 2012. Nielsen has a financing commitment for the total transaction amount.
Together, Nielsen and Arbitron generated total revenues of $6.0 billion and combined pro forma adjusted EBITDA of $1.7 billion based on the 12 months ended September 30, 2012.