Nielsen sells EDI to Rentrak

Sale part of firm's strategy to divest 'non-core' businesses

And then there was one -- again.

Rentrak, which in 2003 broke Nielsen EDI's monopoly in providing Hollywood studios with boxoffice data services, announced Tuesday its acquisition of EDI.

Financial terms or plans for layoffs at either company were not disclosed, but overlap in staffing makes some pink slips likely.

Nielsen will maintain a long-term data-licensing agreement with Rentrak under terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter. EDI will be integrated into Rentrak's Box Office Essentials unit.

The combined entity will track boxoffice from more than 50,000 movie screens in 14 countries. Rentrak will enjoy a position of unique market dominance because most film distributors and even boxoffice-analysis services use EDI or Rentrak data.

"This strategic transaction will provide Rentrak with a substantial global platform, further enabling our ability to provide robust measurement capabilities and analytics to entertainment, media and advertising companies throughout the world and from which to pursue new business opportunities," Rentrak chief Bill Livek said.

Nielsen Entertainment president Eric Weinberg said the deal "allows our entertainment group to focus on its core businesses and those parts of the company that are most aligned with our long-term strategy."

Portland, Ore.-based Rentrak also tracks revenue from home entertainment and other entertainment segments.

The Nielsen Co. is corporate parent to EDI as well as to the larger TV ratings company Nielsen Media Research, which it will continue to operate. AC Nielsen acquired then-independent EDI in 1997 and subsequently merged it with NMR.

Nielsen recently announced the sale of The Hollywood Reporter to e5 Global Media in a deal set to close Dec. 31.

The Hollywood Reporter is a unit of the Nielsen Co. until Dec. 31.
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