Nielsen Holdings, a global information company that analyzes what consumers watch and buy, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the international media and marketing research firm Arbitron for roughly $1.26 billion.

As part of the deal, Nielsen Holdings will acquire all of Arbitron’s remaining common stock for $48 per share. According to a press release issued today, the figure equates to a premium of roughly 26 percent when compared to Arbitron’s closing price yesterday. Arbitron has 26.16 million outstanding shares, according to Google Finance, making the deal worth $1.255 billion in total.

For the 12 months preceding September 30, Nielson Holdings and Arbitron produced roughly $6 billion in total revenues, as well as a combined pro forma, adjusted for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), of around $1.7 billion.

Nielsen Holdings hopes that by acquiring Arbitron, it will be able to expand its current audience measurements based on how people watch or listen to media on different devices. It’s another clear indicator that Nielsen is keen to grow and modernize, after it linked up with Twitter yesterday to announce Nielsen Twitter TV Rating, a new social measurement of television program popularity.

David Calhoun, CEO of Nielsen Holdings, said:

“U.S. consumers spend almost 2 hours a day with radio. It is and will continue to be a vibrant and important advertising medium. Arbitron will help Nielsen better solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, including streaming audio and out-of-home.”

The board of directors at each company has approved the deal, leaving just the customary closing conditions, as well a regulatory review, on the ’to do list’ before the acquisition is officially completed.

Arbitron marketing research spans multiple mediums, incuding radio, television, cable and mobile devices, as well as advertising agencies and advertisers around the world. It’s most notable operations, however, include measuring network and local market radio audiences across the United States, as well as surveying the retail, media and product purchases made by consumers.

Nielsen Holdings has also emphasized that once the acquisition is complete, its combined assets with Arbitron will “support Nielsen’s strong cash flow characterisitics” and “enable continued investment in growth initiatives.”

The press release issued today later adds that the cost synergies, or day-to-day savings, related to the acquisition will be worth at least $20 million due to the integration of technology platforms and reduced data collecting.

Nielsen Holdings is headquartered in New York and operates in approximately 100 countries worldwide.

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