Audit Firm Is Going Global

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Cable Audit Associates has increased its reach beyond U.S. borders, acquiring the international audit operations of Media Audit International Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

The deal, which closed earlier this month, will expand CAA’s reach internationally, particularly in Latin America.

CAA provides auditing services to cable programmers that distribute their programming on cable, direct-broadcast satellite and other video distributors. Basically, CAA ensures that cable systems and direct-broadcast satellite distributors are paying the networks correctly and that accurate subscriber counts are being used.

In an interview last week, CAA CEO Bruce Lazarus said that his company and Media Audit had talked about merging several years ago, but decided to shelve plans for a combination. Talks were started up again this year.

“There are some strong economic reasons to combine our businesses, given that we’re in a very similar space,” Lazarus said. “And it’s very well-timed, given that the international market — especially down in the Latin American market [is growing]; and the proliferation of all of the Latino services that are coming into this country. We felt there could be a potential market down there for additional auditing services as well as other consulting services we’ve been performing here domestically.”

CAA currently represents about 90% of the domestic cable networks, Lazarus said. He added that Media Audit focuses on the international channels of U.S.-based networks, such as the Turner Broadcasting System Inc. networks and Discovery Communications Inc.

Lazarus said that he will continue to focus on the domestic market while MediaAudit president Irvin Hirschorn will focus on markets outside of the U.S. as vice president of international operations.

This is the second acquisition in about two years for CAA. In 2004, it bought the audit division of San Francisco-based Hawk Media for an undisclosed sum. That acquisition moved CAA into audit products for advertisers.

Lazarus said that Media Audit’s 10 employees will be integrated into CAA’s operations. CAA has about 40 employees.

Media Audit has some presence in Europe, but that won’t be a focus of expansion, Lazarus said. Aside from Latin America, the next biggest opportunity is likely Asia.