Asset swap for Nielsen and WPP Group


The Nielsen Company is acquiring 100% ownership of AGBNielsen Media Research, the international TV ratings company, in a swap deal for the half now owned by WPP Group. In return, WPP will get some healthcare and media assets from Nielsen, including SRDS. The swaps resolve the divestitures that European antitrust regulators required in connection with WPP Group’s $1.9 billion deal to acquire Taylor Nelson Sofres.

With its acquisition of the 50% of AGBNielsen Media Research that it didn’t already own, The Nielsen Company says that operation, its North American TV measurement business and its media measurement businesses in online, mobile, advertising and radio measurement will form the global foundation of Nielsen’s media product portfolio.

WPP is receiving three things from Nielsen in the swap. First, SRDS, the leading provider of media rates and data to the advertising industry; secondly, PERQ/HCI, which provides a range of services to give insights into media planning, trading and post campaign effectiveness in the field of healthcare; and thirdly, its 11% share in IBOPE PDM, IBOPE LA and IMI.Com, which are part of the IBOPE Group, a Latin American multinational firm, based in Brazil, and the market leader specializing in media, market and opinion research.  WPP already holds a 31% stake in IBOPE. These assets will be added to The Kantar Group, WPP’s information, insight and consultancy division.

"The decision to dispose of our 50% stake in AGBNielsen Media Research was a difficult one.  However, the strength and breadth of the TNS offer and the quality of the management team provide us with a unique opportunity to develop Kantar Group’s integrated media measurement and insight capability, in which we and our clients believe so strongly,” said Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar.

“In an increasingly digital world, it is essential for Nielsen to strengthen its global market position. As a fully integrated part of our company, AGBNMR will be an important part of our portfolio and better positioned to offer high quality measurement for its clients,” said Nielsen Chairman and CEO David Calhoun.

The asset swap transaction is expected to close by the end of this year.