NEWS15 August 2011

GfK buys 25% of Media Behaviour Institute

Europe Financials M&A North America

GERMANY— GfK has acquired a 25% stake in Media Behaviour Institute (MBI), the firm responsible for bringing the UK-developed multi-media measurement survey Touchpoints to the US market.

GfK was already working with MBI as research partner on the Touchpoints project – through its subsidiary Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI) – prior to the investment, which was completed on 12 August.

The study involves recruiting 2,000 Americans to carry smartphones installed with an app that allows them to record where they are, what they are doing and what media they are consuming every half-hour for a 10-day period. This information is then combined with lifestyle data which will be fed into a database to be used by media buyers as an integrated channel planning tool. More details here.

MBI is also 25% owned by media and consumer research group Nielsen, with the remaining 50% held by MBI co-founders Jim Spaeth and Alice Sylvester.

GfK announced the acquisition in its half-year report, which showed sales up 8.3% to €660.1m and adjusted operating income climbing 16.8% to €83.9m.

Custom research revenue increased 8.5% to €399.4m thanks to performances in western Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Germany, as well as central and eastern Europe. Retail and technology was up 11.6% to €192.9m but media sector revenue was down 1.2% to €65.3m.

GfK CEO Klaus Wübbenhorst said the first-half performance “confirms our forecast made at the start of the current financial year of achieving organic sales growth of 5% to 6% and a margin at least at the previous year’s level”.

Wübbenhorst has decided not to renew his contract with GfK, which runs until July 2012. Earlier this month, the firm appointed Matthias Hartmann as his successor. He is set to join GfK no later than January from IBM Global Services where he is currently global head of strategy and industries.