Nielsen to buy radio ratings firm Arbitron for $1.26 billion

NEW YORK, Tue Dec 18, 2012 — Nielsen Holdings NV, known for its television viewership ratings, agreed to pay $1.26 billion to acquire its radio counterpart, Arbitron Inc.

The $48-per-share purchase price represents a 26 percent premium to Arbitron’s Monday closing price on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were trading just below the offer price in premarket trading Tuesday when the deal was announced.

Ratings — Nielsen’s in TV and Arbitron’s in radio — determine how much advertisers are charged to run commercials during TV programs and radio listening hours. The higher the rating — the more people watching or listening — the more expensive the commercial spot.

“It’s a huge deal for Nielsen,” said Edward Atorino, an analyst with Benchmark Co. “It adds radio, which is a huge market.”

Nielsen said that with Arbitron it plans to expand its “Watch” measurement that keeps tabs on consumer viewing and listening habits across multiple screens such as TV, computers and mobile devices.

Private quity firm KKR’s lower earnings miss estimates, shares fall

Private equity firm KKR & Co. reported lower-than-expected second-quarter earnings on Wednesday as investment income declined and the value of its investments rose less than the previous year, sending its shares lower.

However, KKR, which has investments in companies including retailer Dollar General, hospital operator HCA and media ratings company Nielsen, said its private equity funds rose 4 percent in the quarter and 10 percent for the year to date.

KKR said while the value of its investments increased in value, it was less of a rise than a year earlier. KKR said the company’s fee earnings can be significantly influenced by when deals close, meaning that the numbers they report on a quarterly basis can be “lumpy.”

“In private equity, we continue to be very active on a global basis,” said Scott Nuttall, a partner and director at KKR who leads the company’s earnings calls. “Valuations are relatively attractive and the financing markets are open for our companies.”

Economic net income (ENI), a measure used by private equity firms to report earnings, was $315 million, down 27 percent from $433 million a year earlier.

ENI after tax per adjusted unit was 36 cents, down from 48 cents a year earlier. Analysts’ average forecast was 40 cents.

Second-quarter investment income was $239.8 million, down from $370.6 million a year earlier.

KKR shares were down 90 cents, or 6.4 percent, to $13.24 in early afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

By other metrics, KKR’s figures improved. Fee-related earnings were $76 million compared with $63 million the previous year. Earnings using general accepted accounting principles showed that net income was $39.6 million compared with $29.9 million a year earlier.

Assets under management totaled $61.9 billion, up from $54.4 billion a year earlier.

“We are in a very fortunate position,” said Nuttall. “We have long dated capital… In times like this, companies need capital. Many of the traditional providers are gone.”