BloombergBusiness; Adweek; NY Times; WSJ

ComScore is Buying Rentrak: Look Out Nielsen!

Sep 29, 2015  •  Post A Comment

“ComScore Inc., the Internet researcher, agreed to buy Rentrak Corp. in an all-stock merger valued at more than $800 million, combining two media-monitoring companies to create a more formidable rival to Nielsen,” reports BloombergBusiness.

Notes Adweek, “ComScore, which specializes in digital measurement, will join forces with Rentrak, which tracks set-top box data to measure television viewing. Serge Matta, comScore’s CEO, will serve as CEO of the combined company.

“‘The merger of comScore and Rentrak represents an exciting milestone for our combined clients, uniquely skilled employees and shareholders,’ said Matta in a statement. ‘Together we have an even more powerful ability to deliver what our clients and the media industry have long been asking for: a comprehensive cross-platform measurement currency that accounts for all the ways in which content is consumed, whether that happens on a desktop, mobile device, live or time-shifted TV, video on demand or through over-the-top devices.’”

The New York Times reports, “The deal calls for Rentrak, founded under a different name in 1977, to become a wholly owned subsidiary of comScore….Bill Livek, chief of Rentrak, will be executive vice chairman and president.”

Livek, in an interview, told BloombergBusiness, “The advertiser doesn’t care whether people use the TV or the Internet. They just want the best possible measurement.”

The New York Times story adds, “Expected to close in early 2016, the transaction values Rentrak at about $827 million on a fully diluted equity basis. Together, the companies have an equity value of about $2.4 billion, based on the share price at the close of trading on Tuesday. Nielsen has a market capitalization of about $16.7 billion. Some advertising and media executives cheered the merger as a viable alternative to Nielsen.”

Says the Wall St. Journal, “Under the deal’s terms, each share of Rentrak will be converted into the right to receive 1.15 shares of comScore….Rentrak stockholders would receive $47.69 per share, a 9.9% premium, based on Tuesday’s closing prices. ComScore currently has a market capitalization of $1.7 billion.”

The WSJ adds, “Advertising executives rely on independent measurement to help them allocate marketing dollars, including the roughly $70 billion they plow into TV each year.

“Nielsen, which has long had a monopoly on the TV-measurement business, has said it is responding to the concerns from media executives. The company in coming months plans to roll out a ‘total audience’ measurement system that it promises will capture viewing of TV content across platforms, as well as all digital content, and help marketers compare digital and TV metrics more easily.

“‘There are myriad analytics options for the media industry, but Nielsen’s focus is on delivering the actual currency ratings data used for trading billions of dollars in advertising,’ a Nielsen spokesman said Tuesday, regarding the comScore-Rentrak merger. ‘This requires superior quality, industrial-strength delivery, and gold-standard audited processes and methods.’”

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