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Nielsen completes $1.26B acquisition of Arbitron

NEW YORK (AP) -- Nielsen, the dominant source of TV ratings, said Monday it completed its $1.26 billion deal to acquire radio measurement company Arbitron.

The announcement comes after earlier this month Nielsen agreed to sell and license part of Arbitron's services in order to settle the Federal Trade Commission's concerns that the acquisition, first announced in December, would stymie competition.

"Our combined capabilities offer opportunities to measure unmeasured areas that are important to the industries and clients we serve, like streaming audio, out-of-home measurements for television consumption and deeper measurement of multicultural audiences in the U.S.," said Nielsen CEO David Calhoun.

Arbitron pays 70,000 people to carry around gadgets that register what stations they're listening to. Nielsen said the acquisition will let the New York company expand the amount of media consumption it tracks by about 2 hours a day to 8 hours.

Nielsen, which went public in January 2011, has headquarters in the Netherlands and New York.

Under its agreement with the FTC, Nielsen will sell and license, for at least eight years, certain assets related to Arbitron's cross-platform audience measurement services to an FTC-approved buyer within three months. The buyer will get everything it needs to replicate Arbitron's services.

The FTC's agreement with Nielsen also includes certain terms designed to ensure the success of the buyer as a viable competitor, such as requiring that Nielsen provide technical assistance and remove barriers that might otherwise keep the acquirer from hiring key Arbitron employees.

Arbitron will be rebranded as Nielsen Audio and fall within Nielsen's U.S. Watch segment, which provides information about TV, online, mobile and radio consumption.

Nielsen bought the outstanding stock of Arbitron for $48 per share. The deal is expected to boost adjusted earnings by 26 cents per share during the first full year of operation and 32 cents per share in the second year.

Amid a broader market downturn, shares of Nielsen Holdings N.V. slipped 13 cents to $36.19 during morning trading, closer to the high end of the stock's 52-week range of $27.30 to $37.30.