Nielsen To Purchase IAG Research For $225 Million

In a $225 million deal, Nielsen is acquiring IAG Research, a privately held company that measures consumer engagement with television programs, national commercials and product placements, officials said Monday.

Nielsen said it expects to complete the acquisition in the second quarter, and that IAG’s executive team has agreed to join Nielsen following the merger.

The deal will be affected through a merger of IAG with a Nielsen subsidiary, in which IAG stockholders will receive cash for their IAG shares.  The transaction is subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino review and other typical closing conditions.

Nielsen currently intends to finance the transaction through the issuance of notes, existing facilities and cash on hand.

IAG had over $35 million in annual revenue and positive operating income in 2007, on an unaudited basis. It conducts research with viewers to measure the effectiveness of advertising and program engagement across television and the Internet. Its clients include major advertisers, advertising agencies, Internet providers, telecommunications services, television and cable networks and other content providers.

“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,” Nielsen chairman and CEO David Calhoun said in a prepared 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.”

IAG measures the effectiveness of television advertising, product placement as well as viewer engagement with TV and the Internet. IAG Research's suite of measurement products are used by such industry leaders as American Express, Toyota, General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Chrysler, Procter & Gamble, Verizon, Sprint, Warner Brothers, Visa, Merck & Co., Paramount Pictures and major networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN, TNT,TBS and MTV.

 “We are excited to be joining The Nielsen Co., where IAG will be able to enhance the services it already supplies to clients” IAG co-founders and co-CEO’s Alan Gould and Ken Orkin said in a prepared 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.”