French firm Ipsos has snapped up Mori Group, the privately-owned UK market research firm, in a deal valued at £88.6 million.
Last year Mori notched up 2004 revenues of £44.2 million and operating profits of £5.6 million.
The firm, which has 460 employees, has its HQ in London, and offices in Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast and Dublin.
The acquisition will almost double Ipsos' revenues in the UK, it said, adding: "The combined Ipsos Mori brand will become the number two in the UK market."
Ipsos also said it was planning a capital increase when market conditions permit and will issue shares £4.8 million to key Mori executives as part of the deal.
The company is eyeing annual cost savings of £ 1.24 million and sees restructuring costs about that figure. Ipsos also repeated that it expects revenue of at least £689.6 million and an operating margin above ten per cent by 2007.
With offices in more than 40 countries, Ipsos is the third largest survey-based research company globally.
Moris was founded by American-born Sir Robert Worcester in 1969.
Meanwhile, market research firm YouGov yesterday marked a successful start to life as a public company after unveiling a 47 per cent
rise in annual profits. The group, which conducts a range of political surveys and commercial studies, said trading was ahead of expectations outlined at the time of its stock market flotation in April.
YouGov posted pretax profits of £996,000 for the year to July 31 on turnover of £2.9 million - a 48 per cent increase on last year.
During the period, it provided a series of polls on the General Election, from daily tracking surveys to major studies comparing political attitudes before the campaign started and after election day.
However, a far bigger chunk of YouGov's turnover comes from commercial market research, where it recently won a contract with Asda to investigate consumer spending behaviour and customers' attitudes to in- store promotions.
YouGov, which was founded in May 2000, has more than 130 clients on its books, compared with 100 last year.
The firm said two-thirds of market research was now conducted online and that this type of research was expected to account for 7.5 per cent of total spending this year.
It also signalled it was on the hunt for market research companies, particularly in areas such as consumer goods, healthcare and the financial sector.
London-based YouGov's flotation raised £3 million to support its expansion.