Nielsen To Acquire Arbitron

Nielsen today (Dec. 18) announced an agreement to acquire Arbitron Inc. for $1.26 billion. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Nielsen is home to SoundScan, which tabulates album and digital track purchases. The company’s BDS division measures radio airplay. This data is used to determine radio and sales charts published in Billboard. Nielsen also measures television ratings, consumer spending, demographics and much more.

Arbitron calculates local radio station ratings, network and national radio audience measurement, and much more.

Nielsen has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Arbitron for $48 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 26 percent to Arbitron’s closing price on December 17, 2012.

“U.S. consumers spend almost 2 hours a day with radio. It is and will continue to be a vibrant and important advertising medium,” said Nielsen Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun. “Arbitron will help Nielsen better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, including streaming audio and out-of-home. The high level of engagement with radio and TV among rapidly growing multicultural audiences makes this central to Nielsen’s priorities.”

With Arbitron assets, Nielsen intends to further expand its “Watch” segment’s audience measurement across screens and forms of listening. “These integrated, innovative capabilities will enable broader measurement of consumer media behavior in more markets around the world,” said Steve Hasker, Nielsen President of Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions. “We will also bring local clients greater visibility to empower more precise advertising placement and campaign effectiveness.”

“Radio reaches more than 92 percent of all American teens and adults because they love to listen to music, talk, news and information while at home, at work and in their cars,” said William T. Kerr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Arbitron. “By combining Nielsen’s global capabilities and scale with Arbitron’s unique radio measurement and listening information, advertisers and media clients will have better insights into consumer behavior and the return on marketing investments.”

Earlier this month it was announced that Kerr will retire and Sean R. Creamer will take over as Pres./CEO of Arbitron effective Jan. 1.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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