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NPD Venture Buys Tracking Firm / Acquisition bolsters LI company's position in market data field

NPD Group confirmed Friday that its market-tracking joint

venture, NPD Intelect, has acquired the point-of-sale tracking division of

research firm PC Data for an undisclosed amount.

Sixty PC Data employees will go to work for NPD Intelect, which is a joint

venture of NPD and GfK AG, a research concern based in Germany, said NPD

spokeswoman Leslie Singer. She didn't say whether some or all would move to

facilities near NPD's Port Washington headquarters or remain in Reston, Va.,

where PC Data is based.

Meanwhile Friday, Tod Johnson, chief executive officer of NPD as well as

Manhattan-based Jupiter Media Metrix, announced that he is stepping down from

Jupiter Media Metrix. Stock "market conditions make it increasingly difficult

for me to remain as the CEO of two companies," Johnson said in a statement.

NPD created Media Metrix in 1995. Media Metrix separated in 1997 and went

public in 1999. Then Jupiter bought Media Metrix in 2000. Johnson served as CEO

of the merged Jupiter Media Metrix since then, but had never given up his post

as head of NPD.

Singer said Friday that the acquisition by NPD of PC Data supplements NPD's

position in the online sales-tracking industry as well as its presence in the

computer software field.

NPD Intelect gathers regular information about the sale of products in a

range of consumer fields, from food to clothing. NPD sells that information to

manufacturers and others interested in tracking sales trends. Prior to the PC

Data buyout, NPD Intelect tracked only video game and interactive entertainment.

The deal, first reported in Newsday two weeks ago, "ensures the

continuation of services for our existing clients," said Nancy Goldberg, chief

executive of PC Data.

PC Data has been operating under the weight of accumulated debt after the

costly launch of an online division two years ago. The sale to NPD did not

include that division, which reportedly is being eyed by NetValue, a French

research firm.

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