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ComScore scores M:Metrics for $44.3 million

The Web statistics firm, looking to broaden its reach in the mobile market, announces the acquisition of the smaller statistics firm.

Online number-crunching firm ComScore announced Wednesday that it has acquired M:Metrics, a mobile usage statistics company, for $44.3 million in cash and a handful of common stock options.

The reason for the purchase is pretty obvious: as mobile phones make up a bigger and bigger chunk of digital consumption, ComScore wants to be able to provide the relevant statistics to businesses and advertisers. M:Metrics operates mobile phone usage survey MobiLens, mobile ad statistic tabulator M:Ad, and mobile Web monitoring product MeterDirect. ComScore currently has about 950 clients, the company said, and M:Metrics has more than 180.

"With the substantial growth of 3G devices and Internet friendly handsets, we believe we are now at an inflection point in Internet usage on mobile devices," ComScore CEO Magid Abraham said in a statement. "Our acquisition of M:Metrics makes ComScore an immediate market leader in this space and positions ComScore to deliver significant shareholder value."

Gaining access to additional measurement technology could also help ComScore deal with the fact that many businesses still don't trust Web usage metrics, which often vary significantly from one tracking firm to the next. The Interactive Advertising Bureau requested last year that ComScore, along with competitor Nielsen/NetRatings, go through an audit to scrutinize its measurement methodologies.

As part of the acquisition, which closed Wednesday, M:Metrics co-founders Will Hodgman and Seamus McAteer will become part of ComScore's management team.