NEWS26 July 2004

WPP statement on AGB expected this week

Marketing group is believed to have bought TV audience measurement specialist; plans joint venture with Nielsen Media Research.

Marketing services group, WPP is expected to release a statement later this week confirming that it has bought TV audience measurement firm, the AGB Group.

Both companies declined to comment. However, a source within WPP said an official statement on the rumours was anticipated in the next few days.

According to a senior media research industry source, AGB founder Alberto Colussi privately confirmed at Esomar’s World of Audience Measurement conference in June that the deal was done.

WPP already owns a 30% share in AGB through its Kantar Media Research division. It is rumoured to have upped its stake in the company, which will then reportedly be used to form a joint venture with US TV ratings giant, Nielsen Media Research.

It is thought that any venture between the two companies would exclude the US market, although further details remain sketchy.

Nielsen declined to comment. “Nothing has been announced,” said a company spokesman.