Washington, DC - Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved an application by Nielsen Holdings N.V. and Nielsen Audio, Inc. (collectively, Nielsen) to sell its LinkMeter cross-platform audience measuring services to comScore, Inc., and to enter other arrangements supporting the divestiture.
The divesture is required under the FTC order settling charges that Nielsen’s acquisition of Arbitron, Inc. would lessen competition in cross-platform audience measurement services.
According to the FTC’s September 2013 complaint, at the time of the acquisition, Nielsen and Arbitron were both developing national syndicated cross-platform audience measurement services, which allow audiences to be measured accurately across multiple viewing platforms, such as TV and online. The complaint alleges that the elimination of future competition between Nielsen and Arbitron in this market would increase the likelihood that Nielsen would exercise market power and likely cause advertisers, ad agencies, and programmers to pay more for national syndicated cross-platform audience measurement services.
The final order requires Nielsen to sell and license, for at least eight years, certain assets related to Arbitron’s cross-platform audience measurement services to an FTC-approved buyer. In its petition, Nielsen requested FTC approval to divest the LinkMeter assets, license certain assets and capabilities, and provide equipment and services, to comScore.
The Commission vote approving the divestiture and extending the time by which it must be completed was 2-1-1, with Commissioner Joshua D. Wright voting no and Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen recused.