NEWS11 February 2010

ComScore in deal to buy ad researcher ARSGroup

M&A North America

US— ComScore has move to bulk up its ad measurement capabilities with an all-cash deal to acquire advertising research agency ARSGroup.

ARSGroup was founded in 1968 and specialises in quantifying the impact and measuring the effectiveness of TV, radio, print, digital and outdoor adverts using its ARS Persuasion methodology. Clients include companies in the consumer packaged goods, retail and pharmaceutical sectors. Other services the agency offers include forecasting, ROI measurement and media planning and strategy.

ComScore president and CEO Magid Abraham (pictured top) said: “The acquisition of ARSGroup marks an important step forward at an opportune time for ComScore in the area of cross-media measurement. As the advertising market continues to become more fragmented as it migrates toward various emerging digital content channels, understanding how to measure the effectiveness of one’s advertising messages has never been more important.”

ARSGroup CEO Jeff Cox (also pictured) said: “ComScore and ARS share a common passion for innovation. By putting the two companies together, we’ll provide an even broader set of tools to help our mutual clients measure the changing dynamics of advertising across all media.”

ComScore expects to finalise the deal by March. Once it is completed ARSGroup will be renamed ComScore ARS and Cox will be given the role of executive vice president at ComScore.

Meanwhile, ComScore has reported a 7% rise in revenue to $33.8m for the fourth quarter of 2009. For the full year, revenue was up 8.8% to $127.m compared to $117.4m in 2008.

Looking ahead to 2010, Abraham said: “ComScore expects revenue to grow approximately 21% to 25% over full year 2009, including the impact of the ARSGroup acquisition. We are optimistic about 2010 and will continue to manage expenses as tightly as possible.”

In October, the firm announced it was cutting 8% of its workforce to balance costs against what it said was the need to invest in its hybrid web measurement solution, Media Metrix 360.