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David Pidgeon 

comScore and Kantar announce global partnership

comScore and Kantar announce global partnership

WPP has announced that Kantar, its data investment management arm, has entered into a strategic global alliance with comScore, the internet audience measurement company.

The alliance, which covers territories outside the US, establishes a framework for the parties to bring the "best of breed together from the two companies", including their products, technology, data assets, research panels and relationships.

The alliance follows the intended acquisition by WPP, announced earlier today (12 February), of a substantial equity stake in comScore.

Under the terms of the agreement, comScore will issue 4.45% in shares in exchange for the benefits of the strategic alliance, and acquisition of "certain European Internet audience measurement assets".

WPP will also purchase up to 15% shares of comScore through a tender offer with an offering price of $46.13, giving WPP a total ownership stake in comScore of between 15-20%.

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015.

In a statement, comScore said it will partner with Kantar and its operating businesses on cross-media audience and campaign measurement in non-U.S. markets. comScore will also acquire the assets of Kantar's Internet audience measurement businesses in certain European markets.

"This long-term, strategic alliance will simplify the deployment of global measurement capabilities and accelerate the creation of new services for the industry," said comScore CEO Serge Matta.

"The emerging mediascape points to a massive global opportunity waiting to be unlocked by cracking the code on cross-media audience and campaign measurement. We look forward to working together with Kantar to deliver new measurement products based on our complementary offerings in these markets."

Commenting on the move, Bob Wootton, director of media and advertising at ISBA, the voice of British advertisers, said it was smart move for both parties, marrying complementary skills at scale.

"As well as being a leading global research company, comScore is also a leader in the provision of tools which enable advertisers to determine the value of their online spends, whilst Kantar is part of WPP, which has significant interests in online media trading," Wootton said.

"With WPP acquiring 15-20% of its equity, comScore will therefore need to offer its customers firm reassurance that it will retain its operating integrity and independence.

"Fortunately, Kantar already understands this well as the large majority of its revenues come from non-WPP companies, including competing marketing communications networks and their clients. We also understand and are encouraged by the fact that WPP will not be represented on its Board of Directors."

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