Nielsen Buying Arbitron for $1.26B

Move unites two leading market research firms

Two of the leading market research firms will be united under one roof after Nielsen Holdings announced Tuesday that it will acquire Arbitron for $1.26 billion.

For Nielsen, which surveys television viewership, Arbitron represents an opportunity to expand its reach into measuring radio audiences.

As part of the deal, Nielsen agreed to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Arbitron for $48 per share in cash. That represents a 26 percent premium on Arbitron's closing price on Monday. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies, but is still subject to regulatory approval.

“U.S. consumers spend almost 2 hours a day with radio. It is and will continue to be a vibrant and important advertising medium," said Nielsen Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun in a statement. "Arbitron will help Nielsen better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, including streaming audio and out-of-home.”

Combined, the two companies had total revenues of $6 billion and earnings of $1.7 billion for the 12 months ending September 30, 2012.

In addition to surveying television viewing habbits, Nielsen is involved in online intelligence, mobile measurement and hosts trade shows, among other ventures.

Shares of Nielsen rose 1.82 percent in pre-market trading to $30.15 on news of the acquisition.