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Observer AB Acquires Irish Media Monitor

London, ENGLAND -- Swedish media and market analysis company Observer AB announced Thursday its acquisition of News Extracts, Ireland's top media and news monitoring firm.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

With operations in Dublin, Ireland, and Belfast in Northern Ireland, News Extracts has a turnover of SEK 17 million (US $1.68 million) and 50 employees.

By contrast, Observer AB -- formerly known as the Sifo Group -- is a much larger organization, turning over in excess of SEK 1.1 billion (US $108 million) and employing 1,800 people across Europe. Observer now has a presence in the U.K., Sweden Germany, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

By joining the larger group, News Extracts expects to have an opportunity to offer value-added services and IT solutions as well as several international services.

Observer's Chief Executive Robert Lundberg said the acquisition of News Extracts completed Observer's presence in the English speaking markets in Europe. He called Ireland, which has a booming -- and some would say overheated economy - "a very interesting market."

"We see clear synergies with our British operations. This move into Ireland is, together with our latest acquisition in Portugal, a further step in our plans to establish operations in every interesting market in Europe," said Lundberg.

In early March 2001, Observer acquired Memorandum SA, Portugal's leader in media and market monitoring, thereby gaining a foothold in the Latin market. Memorandum has an extensive network of partners in Latin America and Spain.

The potential for media and news monitoring services has grown substantially along with the growth of the Internet. As a result, Observer took the decision early in 2000 to divest itself of its Research and Consulting division to concentrate on media and market monitoring, analysis, evaluation and communication.

Earlier this month, Observer also announced the sale of its stake in management and strategy consultant SMG Consulting to co-owner Normann & Partners. The sale becomes effective at the end of March and the proceeds will be used to pay for the new acquisitions in Ireland and Portugal.