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ACNielsen Consults Online

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] Market research firm ACNielsen has acquired local Internet research company www.consult, in a move intended to strengthen the company's leadership in the e-research field in the Asia Pacific.

www.consult provides a range of Internet research services, including a regional online user survey and sector reports covering online brokering and banking, advertising, retailing and infrastructure.

Since its start up in 1995, the research firm has become a prominent player in the Australian e-commerce industry, claiming an annual revenue growth exceeding 40 percent and a portfolio of clients including Yahoo!, Lucent, Citibank and IBM.

The acquisition propels AC Nielsen's further into the online area, two months ago launching ACNielsen.online, a new business in Asia Pacific that conducts market research over the Internet, and about the Internet.

AC Nielsen's other online business unit, ACNielsen eRatings.com, continues to roll out its Nielsen//NetRatings service, which the company claims is fast-becoming the global leader in measuring Internet audiences, advertising and usage activity.

"This is a great fit for ACNielsen. It combines www.consult's proven Internet research business model with ACNielsen's global market penetration and industry leadership," said ACNielsen vice chairman Michael P. Connors.

"Adding www.consult to our expanding suite of research services on, or about, the Internet takes us to the next level in helping our clients understand and use the Web as a strategic and operational business tool," Mr. Connors said.

AC Nielsen may have realized the potential of Sydney-based www.consult, which has been expanding its research services into Asia, recently opening an office Hong Kong in response to growing interest from Asian-based companies. www.consult's research now covers some 12 countries in the region.

Ramin Marzbani, the principal of www.consult, will continue to head the business following the acquisition, saying the two will be able to better positioned to service the vast research needs currently unfolding.

"This agreement will greatly upgrade our regional capability and provide an opportunity to market our high-level analytics to a wider group of companies," he said. "We are moving closer to the new paradigm in Asia Pacific, where traditional offline businesses need to build online capabilities as part of their service delivery.