NEWS10 August 2010

YouGov continues US expansion with Harrison acquisition

M&A North America

US— YouGov has agreed a deal to buy strategic research and marketing consultancy Harrison Group for an initial consideration of $6m, with a further $7m tied to performance targets over the next three years.

Harrison was launched by Doug Harrison in 1996 and specialises in concept evaluation, forecasting, branding, business consulting and market modelling across multiple sectors, but with a “particular emphasis” on the interactive entertainment and wealth sectors.

The firm employs 35 people and its acquisition will double the size of YouGov’s US operations, taking the number of employees to more than 80, YouGov said.

Harrison’s Survey of Affluence, Wealth of America and American Pantry studies will be added to YouGov’s suite of syndicated products.

YouGov CEO Stephan Shakespeare said: “Harrison is highly complementary to YouGov’s existing US business and this acquisition is consistent with YouGov’s strategy of scaling up the group’s commercial market research business in the USA.

“It gives us immediate scale in the corporate research market through a business with an excellent reputation for quality and with a superb client list. We are very proud to add Harrison to our growing US and global network.”

YouGov’s bid for Harrison already has the support of shareholders representing 98.75% of Harrison shares. The company, based in Connecticut, reported revenue of $9.6m last year.

Founder Doug Harrison (pictured) said: “We see joining the YouGov group as an excellent opportunity to develop our business and meet our clients’ growing need for global research resources and capabilities. We will benefit from YouGov’s high quality US panel and their cutting edge research technology and analytics.”

YouGov is due to publish results for the year ending 31 July soon. At the half-year mark its turnover was £21.3m, with the US business contributing £1.9m in revenue.

Social research specialist Polimetrix was YouGov’s first US acquisition, done in two parts in 2006 and 2007. In 2009 it bought branding, customer satisfaction and new product market research agency Clear Horizons.