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comScore Acquires Analytics Firm AdXpose

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Audience analytics firm comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) is acquiring ad campaign effectiveness firm AdXpose for $22 million in a mostly stock-based transaction. The deal comes about three months after Mpire changed its name to AdXpose and raised a $3 million funding round.

Mpire has been through a lot of changes the past two years. The Seattle-based company recently promoted president and Chief Revenue Officer Kirby Winfield to CEO, nearly two years after the previous chief executive, Matt Hulett, stepped down in August 2009 to become chairman and SVP of the games division at RealNetworks.

AdXPose is also the name of the company’s measurement aid, which is billed as a cloud-based solution that builds on some of the guidelines released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Mobile Marketing Association last week, laying out standards for measuring mobile advertising and marketing campaigns.

The lack of accountability has often been cited by marketers as a reason for holding back online ad spending in general; mobile has generally been regarded as even worse, in terms of being able to compare audience measurement.

For comScore, which often announces acquisitions at the same time it presents its quarterly earnings (see the accompanying chart), the race to provide ever-more in-depth audience analytics and ad effectiveness is becoming more intense, as agency holding companies ramp up their advertising insights.

Two months ago, the Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc.’s tally of media M&A activity this year, counted 15 deals in the “data & analytics” space during the first half of this year, with companies spending a collective $473 million to buy measurement providers. Given all that activity, that indicates that analytics companies are particularly willing to be acquired and can be bought pretty cheaply.

With the economy remaining weak, a number of startups and small companies in the space may be more inclined to sell, as ad agencies and established audience insights firms continue to look for deeper, more comprehensive intelligence providers. Release