Netratings Acquires AdRelevance from Rival

NEW YORK — Two months after its aborted merger with Jupiter Media Metrix, NetRatings has purchased what it’s calling the “crown jewel” of its former acquisition target.

The Milpitis, Calif.-based Internet ad measurement firm said Tuesday evening that it has acquired substantially all of the assets of the AdRelevance division of Jupiter Media Metrix for $8.5 million. Founded in 1998 and based in Seattle, AdRelevance supplies information on where, when, how and how much competitors and potential clients are advertising on the Internet.

“We got the crown jewel. We bought the things that attracted us to Jupiter Media Metrix in the first place,” said Sean Kaldor, vp of marketing and analytics for NetRatings, adding that AdRelevance’s metrics are considered the “standard in the industry. It was hard to compete with that offering.”

As a part of the deal, NetRatings takes on the AdRelevance suite of services, employees, data and more than 150 clients. Will Hodgman, the former president of Jupiter and founder of AdRelevance, will join the NetRatings management team in an undetermined post, reporting to William Pulver, CEO of NetRatings.

In February, NetRatings and Jupiter terminated their acquisition agreement, which called for the former to purchase the latter for about $71 million, after the deal came under FTC scrutiny. That same day, New York-based Jupiter said it retained Robertson Stephens Inc. to help the company explore “strategic options to strengthen its position in the marketplace.”

The sell off of AdRelevance is the “first step, and a logical one, in improving Jupiter’s financial position,” said a Jupiter representative.

“While it was a difficult decision to sell this division, we are pleased to have kept our pledge to our loyal AdRelevance customers that this strong brand would remain in the market,” said Robert Becker, CEO of Jupiter, in a statement. “These funds will enable us to look confidently to the future and continue to innovate with our Media Metrix and Jupiter analyst research brands.”

Media Metrix, which merged with Jupiter in 2000, acquired AdRelevance in October 1999 in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at nearly $60 million.

NetRatings (NTRT) was trading on the Nasdaq at $11.77 Wednesday, down 13 cents. Jupiter (JMXI) was trading at 14 cents, up 3 cents.