WPP To Acquire 'Substantial' Stake In comScore: Develop Cross-Media Audience, Campaign Measurement

WPP research and data unit Kantar continues to restructure around strategic alliances giving it a better footing in the global audience measurement marketplace, this time striking a deal with digital media measurement firm comScore that will “accelerate cross-media audience and campaign measurement.”

The comScore alliance, which comes on the heels of Kantar’s sale of its U.S. TV audience measurement services in exchange for a strategic stake in Rentrak, covers territories outside the U.S. The companies described it as establishing a “framework” for integrating their “best of breed” products, technology, data, research panels and relationships to provide “world class cross-media audience and campaign measurement capabilities.”

In a related move, WPP announced plans to take a “substantial equity stake” in comScore. Terms call for comScore to issue 4.45% of its shares to WPP in exchange for “the benefits of the strategy alliance,” as well as the acquisition of certain European Internet audience measurement assets.



WPP will also purchase up to 15% shares of comScore’s common stock through a tender offer with an offering price of $46.13, giving WPP a total ownership stake in comScore of 15-20%.

The deal would seem to bolster comScore at a crucial time when chief rival Nielsen has been making strong headway in the marketplace with its online campaign management ratings services, as well as its push to become the dominant player in “cross-platform” audience measurement, an industry term used to describe ratings that measure audience exposure across various TV and digital screens.

“The emerging mediascape points to a massive global opportunity waiting to be unlocked by cracking the code on cross-media audience and campaign measurement,” comScore CEO Serge Matta said in a statement announcing the deal.
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