Nielsen to Acquire IAG Research

Ratings giant Nielsen announced Monday that it signed a deal to acquire IAG Research, a privately held New York firm that specializes in measuring consumer engagement with TV shows, commercials and product placements, for $225 million in cash.

Under the definitive agreement, IAG stockholders will receive cash for their IAG shares and IAG will merge with a wholly owned subsidiary of Nielsen. Nielsen intends to finance the acquisition of IAG, which had more than $35 million in revenues in 2007, through the issuance of notes, existing facilities and cash on hand.

Nielsen said the deal -- which is subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino review and other typical closing conditions -- is expected to be completed during the second quarter, and that IAG’s executive team agreed to join Nielsen following the merger.

IAG’s clients include major advertisers, advertising agencies, Internet providers, telecommunications services, television and cable networks and other content providers, and its measurement products are used by American Express, Toyota Motor Sales USA, General Motors, Ford Motor, Chrysler, Procter & Gamble, Verizon Communications, Sprint Nextel, Warner Bros., Visa International, Merck, Paramount Pictures and major networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN, Turner Broadcasting System's channels and MTV.

“IAG will add a new dimension to Nielsen’s media business and will be the cornerstone for a new analytics practice that will provide our clients with even greater insights and clarity,” said David Calhoun, chairman and CEO of Nielsen, in a statement. “We are excited by the energy the IAG team will bring to the multiple opportunities they will have at Nielsen. Overlaying their perspective with the vast array of industries and technologies we touch gives us an opportunity to bring greater clarity and creativity to our work on behalf of clients.”

“We are excited to be joining The Nielsen Co., where IAG will be able to enhance the services it already supplies to clients” added IAG cofounders and co-CEOs Alan Gould and Ken Orkin in a statement. “By working within Nielsen, we will also be able to make the company’s services available to a wider base of clients. In an increasingly fragmented media landscape, we believe strongly that advertisers and media companies need the insight that Nielsen and IAG can provide together.”