FTC Approves Nielsen Holdings N.V. and Nielsen Audio, Inc.’s Application to Sell its LinkMeter Technology and Related Assets to comScore, Inc.

For Your Information

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. The FTC responded to one comment received during the 30-day public comment period. (FTC File No. 131-0058; the staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20001. To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

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Mitchell J. Katz,
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