RealTime IT News

Harris Interactive Bolsters Resources

Rochester, N.Y.-based Internet research firm Harris Interactive is acquiring the Custom Research division of Norwalk, Conn.-based Yankelovich Partners in a deal valued at $7 million to $8 million.

Harris said the addition is expected to generate an additional $15 million in revenue over the course of this year. The Custom Research division conducts the majority of its research using the telephone.

Harris stock was unchanged in mid-morning trading at $4.68.

As part of the deal, Harris said, it is hiring about 65 Yankelovich employees -- mostly project personnel, research analysts, data collection management and data processing employees. No real estate was acquired in the transaction.

The Yankelovich Custom Research group offers a full range of research and consulting services including: product forecasting for the pharmaceutical and other industries, public opinion polling, brand equity studies and corporate reputation measurement.

"Everyone affiliated with Custom Research moves over to Harris Interactive," said J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich.

However, he told internetnews.com that since "we will have a smaller business, we won't need quite as many support people. A very small number of people associated with that overhead support may be laid off."

Smith also said that Yankelovich will reorganize its three remaining business units, which include the tracking service Monitor, a database group called MindBase, and a Digital Media Group, into a standalone business under the Yankelovich brand name. Custom Research had been the largest part of Yankelovich.

"The Yankelovich research operations will mesh very nicely with Harris Interactive," said Gordon S. Black, chairman and CEO of Harris. "Like us, they have a long history of conducting high-quality market research for blue chip clients. We value the consultative expertise and the access to new markets like retail, telecommunications and media. Likewise, we look forward to pairing our Internet research technology and expertise with the their intellectual strength. It's a great fit."

Harris Interactive uses both Internet-based and traditional methodologies and is known for its Harris Poll. It has a database of more than 7 million online panelists.