Nielsen Holdings said it has agreed to acquire Arbitron Inc., its long-time research rival in the U.S.
The measurement giant is paying $48 in cash per share for Arbitron, making the deal worth $1.26 billon.
At one time, Arbitron competed with Nielsen in providing local television ratings. More recently, Arbitron has focused on radio ratings and measuring out of home media consumption. Nielsen still has a competitor in Rentrak, which is using data from cable and satellite set-top boxes to generate national and local TV ratings.
"U.S. consumers spend almost two hours a day with radio. It is and will continue to be a vibrant and important advertising medium," Nielsen CEO David Calhoun said in a statement. "Arbitron will help Nielsen better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, including streaming audio and out-of-home. The high level of engagement with radio and TV among rapidly growing multicultural audiences makes this central to Nielsen's priorities."
With Arbitron assets, Nielsen said it intends to further expand its audience measurement across screens and forms of listening. "These integrated, innovative capabilities will enable broader measurement of consumer media behavior in more markets around the world," said Steve Hasker, president of global media products and advertiser solutions at Nielsen. "We will also bring local clients greater visibility to empower more precise advertising placement and campaign effectiveness."