Taylor Nelson, GFK to Merge

Two of the world’s largest market research firms have agreed to merge to create the second largest global market research firm. U.K.-based Taylor Nelson Sofres, which owns TNS Media Intelligence and TNS Media Research in the U.S., has agreed to a stock swap with German firm GfK AG, the companies announced Tuesday, June 3. Both companies will own about 50 percent of the merged company, to be called TNS-GfK.

TNS-GfK will have estimated revenue of $4.2 billion, closing in on Nielsen, which reported $4.7 billion revenue in 2007. It will have operations in 111 countries, bringing together GfK’s strength in central and eastern Europe with TNS’ coverage in Asia Pacific.

“The new business we are creating will be a global leader in the market information industry,” said David Lowden, chief executive of TNS.

According to several reports, WPP Group Plc also proposed to acquire TNS earlier this year, but that offer was rejected.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

Mediaweek is owned by Nielsen.