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Research Outfits GfK, TNS Unveil Merger

Two consumer-market-research-industry titans unveiled a merger Tuesday creating GfK-TNS, which will have combined revenue of $4.2 billion, bulking up to challenge sector-leader Nielsen.

Germany’s GfK Aktiengesellschaft (GfK) and U.K.-based Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) said their combined operation will have offices in 111 countries worldwide. Their strongest regions are Europe and Asia-Pacific.

“The two companies are a perfect fit and have a long and successful track record of working together,” GfK CEO Klaus Wübbenhorst said in a statement.

The companies described their combination as a “merger of equals.” The transaction is scheduled to close by end year.

In early May, advertising agency powerhouse WPP Group offered to buy TNS for $1.8 billion, but TNS rebuffed the offer.

Nielsen posted 2007 revenue of $4.7 billion, although $490 million of that came from nonresearch business publishing and related media.