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NetRatings takes over international rival

Internet traffic measurement firm NetRatings said Monday it plans to buy French rival NetValue for $17.7 million in cash and stock. Immediately, the company said it will acquire 52 percent of the NetValue's shares. Following the sale, the Milpitas, Calif.-based company will make a tender offer to buy the remaining shares of NetValue, a publicly traded company in Paris. The acquisition is expected to close Aug. 12. NetValue Chairman Lennard Brag will remain in his post, NetRatings said.

The move helps NetRatings further expand its Internet audience measurement services overseas, a market in which many U.S.-based market research firms have not been well represented. NetValue, founded in 1998, owns Web site metrics services in nine countries in Europe and Asia, drawing research from more than 200,000 panelists.