Arbitron buys Zokem Oy for mobile measurement


Looking to Finland to find innovation, Arbitron announced that it has bought Zokem Oy. That’s a mobile audience measurement and analytics firm.

The price is approximately $11.7 million in cash at closing, but there are possible additional incremental cash payments through 2014 of up to $12 million based on future financial performance.

According to Arbitron, “Zokem provides custom and syndicated mobile research panels, plug-and-play mobile media measurement tools and software building blocks for mobile device tracking to the leading companies in the marketing research, wireless, Internet, media and marketing industries. Through its proprietary and passive mobile application, Zokem customers can track and interpret consumer use of mobile devices and media. The technology also provides information on network performance and effectiveness of mobile ad campaigns. Zokem currently operates panels in 14 global markets and has relationships with a number of the largest mobile industry participants around the world.

Never fear, you don’t have to learn how to pronounce Zokem Oy. It will operate as Arbitron Mobile. The unit will be led by Dr. Hannu Verkasalo, Zokem founder and CEO, and he will report to Sean Creamer, Exec. VP, US Media Services for Arbitron.

“To better position themselves in the global media marketplace, advertisers, content providers and mobile operators are more eager than ever to understand how consumers are using mobile devices,” said Arbitron CEO Bill Kerr. “The acquisition of Zokem enhances the mobile audience measurement capabilities we gained through our previous purchase of the IMMI technology assets and through the continuing development of our Portable People Meter technology. Zokem also provides Arbitron with valuable new resources for our growing cross-platform initiatives.”
“Arbitron’s expertise in survey methodology, its currency panels for media measurement and its established sales channels are a tremendous complement to Zokem’s mobile technology, mobile expertise and international footprint. We will be in a strong position to capitalize on these assets while continuing to work with our existing partners,” said Verkasalo. “We are already delivering unique and valuable insights to advertisers and media buyers around the world who want a better understanding of how consumers rely on their mobile devices and services. Arbitron Mobile is now better positioned to enhance and expand these insights. For Zokem’s management, employees, customers and investors, this acquisition is a welcome step forward.”

In conjunction with the acquisition, Arbitron updated its guidance to Wall Street: “The Company expects that the acquisition of Zokem will reduce its 2011 earnings by $0.07 to $0.09 per share (diluted.) Transaction costs and transaction related amortization expenses are expected to account for $0.04 per share (diluted) of the estimated $0.07 to $0.09 earnings per share (diluted) impact. Arbitron is reiterating its revenue and earnings per share guidance for 2011. For the full year 2011, Arbitron continues to expect revenue to increase between six percent and eight percent compared to 2010 revenue of $395.4 million. The Company continues to anticipate 2011 earnings per share (diluted) of between $1.90 and $2.05, an increase of 16 percent to 25 percent over earnings per share (diluted) of $1.64 for 2010.”