December 15, 2011

GfK’s Acquisition of Knowledge Networks Highlights Drive to Achieve Scale and Increasing Focus on Digital Assets

On December 9, GfK SE, an international market research firm headquartered in Germany, announced the acquisition of Knowledge Networks Inc., a Palo Alto-based digitally-focused market research company. We served as the exclusive financial advisor to Knowledge Networks on this transaction.

The acquisition of Knowledge Networks marks the ninth significant acquisition in the market research sector in 2011. Consolidation has been driven by:

  1. Increasing Need for Scale as clients consolidate their vendor relationships amidst a tougher advertising environment and recessionary economy
  2. Heightened Interest in Digital Capabilities that offer higher growth opportunities and innovative business models.

The chart below was taken from a presentation we gave in October at the Market Research Council’s quarterly meeting. It shows the clear market leadership, in terms of size, of WPP and Nielsen. It also helps explain why Ipsos made a big bet in July with its £525 million purchase of Synovate and why GfK is buying high quality digital assets like Knowledge Networks. For a full copy of this presentation, please go to:

Another recent Gridley presentation you might find interesting is the one we gave at the OMMA Display Conference in November titled: Transformation of the Data Measurement Industry: How Much Can be Attributed to M&A? For a full copy of this presentation, please go to

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