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Posted by Joseph Stanhope on September 2, 2010
Here we are again. As we approach Labor Day, less than three weeks after IBM announced its agreement to acquire Unica (see my blog post with Suresh Vittal here), comScore announced yesterday that it has acquired the venerable European Web analytics vendor Nedstat.
Total cash and stock consideration for the purchase is valued at approximately $36.7 million USD. Additionally, nearly the entire Nedstat staff, numbering about 120, will stay on at comScore.
Official information is available through comScore, the comScore corporate blog, and the regulatory filing for those of you who are financially minded. I also had the opportunity to speak with comScore CEO and co-founder Magid Abraham, who generously took time out of a very hectic day for a call.
The acquisition is predicated on the following benefits:
Let’s consider the context. comScore is locked in a longstanding and escalating battle with Nielsen for audience measurement supremacy. Acquiring Nedstat with the intention of leveraging onsite measurement in the UDM platform is clearly consistent with comScore’s existing strategy. It has been busy for some time bringing together various components to bolster panel-based audience measurement with new data sources such as surveys, mobile, and now onsite measurement. comScore is triangulating all the elements needed to execute on its strategy.
comScore has likened its strategy to that of the iPad, taking components from other established products and combining them into a new and innovative solution. This is an aggressive and entrepreneurial approach to solving a complex problem. It is also risky and carries execution challenges. But the company that makes progress in reconciling audience and onsite measurement may have the opportunity to become the standard for internet measurement, and in particular a hero to advertisers and media companies the world over.
For additional insight into the strategic implications of this topic for marketers, I strongly recommend that you read the work of my colleague David Cooperstein, who’s research entitled "The Future of Media Measurement" (subscription access required) discusses the convergence of measurement across channels.
As always, in these situations my first concern is the acquired clients. But I think in this case there are encouraging signs for Nedstat clients:
On the surface, the summer of 2010 appears to have seen great consolidation in the Web analytics industry. But I think it has been a tremendous validation of the value of Web intelligence. Rather than pursuing the consolidation play, companies appreciate the power of Web analytics and its potential to power new solutions. Consider the varied but valid strategies of Adobe, IBM and comScore over the past year, each innovating Web intelligence from their own perspectives. I think evolution is a better term. These deals are cumulatively moving Web intelligence up the strategic food chain, which is good for customers and vendor community alike.
What's next? I think that despite the compelling vision of platform plays incorporating Web analytics, these opportunities take time to develop and the market will always want choice, including the option of independent vendors. But will Nielsen and Microsoft be compelled to respond to comScore and IBM, respectively? Who else? I am tempted to check with my friend John Lovett, Web analytics superstar and seer, who prognosticated Nedstat's situation only a few days ago on Beyond Web Analytics!
What do you think?
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