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 Nielsen takeover,
which would effectively merge the two largest U.S. media measurement companies, was approved by 98.99% of shares voting at a special meeting on Tuesday, according to Arbitron, representing 77.11% of
all Arbitron shares.
Shareholders accepted a takeover offer from Nielsen that prices Arbitron at $48 per share, a 2.7% premium over the current price of $46.74, and a 26% premium over the price of around $38 before the deal was announced in December. Under the terms of the deal, Nielsen will pay cash to acquire all outstanding shares of Arbitron.
The deal still has a couple more regulatory hurdles to overcome, including expiration of the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust waiting period. Nielsen and Arbitron have received requests for additional information from the Federal Trade Commission, which also said it would need extra time to review the deal, but Nielsen CEO David Calhoun expressed confidence that the deal would pass regulatory scrutiny.
Nielsen’s proposed acquisition of Arbitron has inspired a great deal of debate since it was first announced late last year.
Of particular concern was the impact a tie-up of the two dominant media ratings firms (Nielsen in TV, Arbitron in radio) would have on the media industry as whole, by further concentrating the media metrics marketplace. By the same token, media industry execs have also expressed cautious optimism that the takeover would help advance cross-platform measurement initiatives.