In an effort to combine and expand offline market research with online market research, London-based TNS has acquired Compete.com for $75 million. Compete collects information about what people click on and their behavior online and compares it with your competitors. They also list your competitors top keywords that drive the most traffic to your site or blog (and it does this free).
Compete was founded in 2000 and is based in Boston, Massachusetts. It was funded by private VC firms and they invested a total of $43 million since 2000. Compete’s data has thus far come from the US only. While they have a free version, they sell subscriptions that provides expanded data and analysis.
From Compete’s blog post about the sale, here are some quick facts about Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS):
- TNS is the third-largest market research firm across the globe (Honomichl)
- TNS is the biggest provider of online market information in the world
- TNS does more custom market research than any other firm worldwide
- TNS Media Intelligence is the top-ranked ad spend measurement company
- The TNS 6th Dimension access panels reach over two million consumers globally
According to TechCrunch the sale to TNS includes another $75 million in possible earn-outs through 2010 that brings the total acquisition price to $150 million. Compare that to competitor comScore, with a market cap of $570 million. Compete had a good year – revenues rose 50 percent in 2007 to $15 million, but it lost $4.5 million.