NEW YORK: Recently rebranded research giant The Nielsen Company is to pay around $327 million (€252.84m; £166.84m) for NetRating's 40% stake in their joint online research venture Nielsen/Netratings.

The acquisition, agreed after Netratings' board rejected an earlier bid of $16 per share, underscores the burgeoning importance of online ratings and the internet as a mainstream medium. Also the inherent difficulties in an operation employing two differing technologies.

This, says Natexis Bleichroeder analyst Alan Gould, has created "hairy" cost and revenue allocation problems arising from the collection, collation and measurement of web traffic data.

He added: "We thought Nielsen would have to increase its bid, but are frankly surprised the final price went as high as $21 per share."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff