Nielsen Holdings announced on Monday that it had completed its $1.26 billion acquisition of the radio ratings company Arbitron, a deal that Nielsen says will allow it to monitor eight hours a day of the public’s media consumption across television, radio and a range of electronic devices.
Following a nine-month review process, the Federal Trade Commission approved the acquisition, as long as Arbitron makes its Portable People Meter available to third parties for cross-platform measurement for at least the next eight years.
Rather than wrapping up its months-long review of the deal as expected, the Federal Trade Commission is busy sending out additional requests for information. The latest round of questionnaires went out to TV station owners that stand to be affected by the merger of the two measurement giants, according to sources.
It’s not cheap working to get the government to clear a high-profile transaction. Year-to-date, Arbitron has spent $9.4 million in hiring consultants, lawyers and other expenses looking to persuade the Federal Trade Commission to allow Nielsen to buy it for $1.26 billion.
When a company is eager for FTC approval of a proposed acquisition, it’s a relief when a leading customer comes out in favor of it. Nielsen has to take heart from CBS’s top researcher David Poltrack supporting its proposed purchase of Arbitron.
Nielsen is nearing completion of the Federal Trade Commission’s request for more information regarding its proposed merger with Arbitron, CEO David Calhoun said Thursday. The Nielsen chief declined to speculate how long it will take the regulators to review the documentation, but offered up “somewhere between 60 days and four months” before the FTC responds.
The proposed acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen came a step closer to reality on Tuesday with an almost unanimous vote by Arbitron shareholders to approve the deal.
The Federal Trade Commission on Friday asked for additional information from Nielsen and Arbitron regarding their proposed merger, the companies said. The request could indicate regulatory complications that will prolong the closing of the merger.
In a little-noticed case, a federal appeals court in Florida ruled that Sunbeam Television-owned WSVN Miami didn’t have standing to sue Nielsen for monopolizing the ratings market because it could not show that any rival, including Arbitron, is ready to compete with Nielsen. If Arbitron has no plans to compete against Nielsen, the merger will likely be approved, sources say.
A group that might have at least slowed government approval of the proposed Nielsen-Arbitron merger through loud defiance signaled it will not stand in the way. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) believes the deal could enhance cross-platform measurement for the industry and won’t have any impact on stifling competition in the TV arena,