February 19, 2002, 12:00 AM

NetRatings and Jupiter call off their marriage

NetRatings and Jupiter canceled their merger after the Federal Trade Commission said it had concerns about the competitive impact of the deal and the financial arrangements of the merger.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

NetRatings Inc. and Jupiter Media Metrix Inc. have called off the acquisition of Jupiter by NetRatings they announced last fall. The two companies are leading providers of web measurement services. They said they canceled the deal after the Federal Trade Commission said it had concerns about the competitive impact of the deal. FTC staff also it would recommend that the commission challenge the financial arrangements of the merger.

Both companies said they disagreed with the FTC’s findings, but that without the proposed financial arrangements, Jupiter was not in a financial position to contest the FTC in a lengthy court challenge.

The decision to mutually terminate the agreement does not require either company to pay a breakup fee, and each company will bear its own acquisition-related expenses.

In connection with the announcement of its proposed acquisition of Jupiter Media Metrix, NetRatings also announced that it had agreed to purchase the interests of ACNielsen eRatings.com that it does not currently own. The parties to the eRatings transaction have not determined whether that transaction will proceed and, if it does, whether or not it will be consummated without modification in its terms, the companies said.

Jupiter said it will form a special committee of the board of directors to explore strategic options. It has retained Robertson Stephens Inc. to act as an advisor.

Jupiter also re-affirmed that it will continue to pursue its patent infringement lawsuit against NetRatings. An Oct. 28 trial date has been set.

 

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