WPP tries to buy TNS... is Nielsen next?

Published on: 2015-02-05

Media Buyer Planner breaks the news to us:

TNS, the research company that has been pushing into the ratings space via digital TV set-top data, has turned down a $1.87 billion buyout offer from WPP Group.

Nielsen Co., TNS’s biggest competitor, is believed to be preparing an even heftier offer, writes MediaPost.

WPP has significant research holdings and has been considering various ways of expanding its presence in that marketplace. Other possibilities for the holding company include an acquisition of Aegis Groupe, whose Synovate research unit is considered by some to be a hot target.

WPP’s offer was apparently designed to block a proposed merger between TNS and WPP’s German rival GfK AG, which was announced Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Such a merger would create stronger competition to WPP’s research division, the Kantar Group.

Our take:

While they focus mostly on television advertising and still have only a small foothold in the US, TNS has nonetheless been carefully growing their presence in the out-of-home space. First, last year, they bought Sorensen, who was at the time working on an innovative in-store media measurement system.  On a number of occasions, their Media Intelligence briefs have focused on ad spend ratios that have forecast the success of digital signage and other similar systems.

Should Nielsen successfully buy them, one wonders how the research coming out of Sorensen would meld with the latter company's PRISM effort to measure in-store media.

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