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.

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