NetRatings to buy Jupiter Media Metrix for $71 million

In a move that will nearly double the number of customers it serves, Internet analysis company NetRatings Inc. plans to purchase competitor Jupiter Media Metrix Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at approximately US$71.2 million, the companies announced Thursday.

Both companies measure audiences on the Internet. Jupiter, for example, recently compiled a list of the most heavily trafficked news sites after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, while NetRatings presented a study on which music-sharing sites have benefitted most from the decline of Napster Inc.

The two companies have been fierce rivals in the past. One part of the agreement calls for them to take no further legal action against each other in a patent infringement lawsuit that Jupiter filed against NetRatings, according to a joint statement issued by the companies Thursday.

The acquisition will bring NetRatings a 94 percent increase in customers, the companies said. They offer services to media companies, advertising agencies, financial institutions and consulting firms.

The companies said the merger should help forge a uniform, global standard for measuring audiences on the Internet. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2002, subject to the approval of Jupiter's shareholders and other customary procedures.

In a related deal, NetRatings said Thursday that it has agreed to buy the remaining 80.1 percent of AC Nielsen eRatings.com that it does not already own, for $16.4 million in stock. That purchase is subject to its successful acquisition of Jupiter Media Metrix and other customary closing terms, NetRatings said.

NetRatings also announced the immediate appointment of Bill Pulver as its president and chief operating officer. Pulver is the former president of AC Nielsen eRatings.com.

At the close of the NetRatings-Jupiter deal, Pulver will become president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the combined company, and NetRatings' current CEO, Dave Toth, will step down, the companies said.

Ahead of the news, NetRatings (NTRT) shares on the Nasdaq market closed down $0.06 at $13.09, while Jupiter Media Metrix (JMXI) climbed $0.03, to close at $0.63.

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