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Nielsen, FTC Talking About Arbitron Deal

Negotiations said to center on cross-platform measurement

As the federal review of the Nielsen proposal to buy Arbitron stretches into another month, cross-platform measurement seems to be at the center of Nielsen’s talks with the Federal Trade Commission.

Nielsen is negotiating concessions with the FTC to allow its $1.26 billion acquisition of Arbitron to close, sources told Bloomberg. The deal was first announced last December.

The talks center on a requirement for the combined audience research entity to license measurement technology to public company ComScore in addition to researchers, networks and other parties after the merger. Reston, Va.-based ComScore and Arbitron collaborate on cross-platform measurement Project Blueprint to measure consumption across video, audio and display content across radio, television, PCs, smartphones and tablets. ESPN is using the service to track audience and would like to continue to do so after the merger, according to the account.

We reported Nielsen agreed to extend the FTC review period another month. The sources told Bloomberg a consent order could become public within the month. Neither Nielsen, Arbitron, nor the FTC would comment, according to Bloomberg.