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VNU to buy AC Nielsen

19-December-2000
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VNU to buy AC Nielsen

Dutch-based publishing and media research conglomerate VNU plans to purchase market research agency AC Nielsen Corp in a $2.3 billion cash deal which would sharply expand its market ratings business.

AC Nielsen is a leader in worldwide fast moving consumer goods information, and serves the information needs of large multinational clients on six continents. AC Nielsen’s sales data combined with VNU’s marketing data will provide one-stop worldwide marketing support.

In India, the merger will see the emergence of a large syndicated research agency that will dominate the market.

VNU has a majority stake in ORG-MARG (close to 85 per cent). So, the Indian market could see both ORG-MARG and AC Nielsen working closely together on the research front. The merger will create a one-stop shop for market research where any kind of research will be available.

Complicating matters, however, is that AC Nielsen has a 50 per cent equity share of Television Audience Measurement, a venture that measures television audience viewership for channels, along with WPP. WPP has stakes in HTA, and IMRB is still a division of HTA. Some rivals fear that the merger will create a monopoly in India.

The ORG-MARG spokesman said that the new combine would face competition from IMRB.

While IMRB declined to disclose its market share, managing director Thomas Pulliyal too thinks that the merger will have a positive impact on the Indian research industry.

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