Research Now agrees takeover offer from e-Rewards

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. market researcher e-Rewards has made an agreed offer for Research Now RNOW.L of 430 pence per share in cash, valuing its British rival at around 85 million pounds ($139 million).

Privately-owned, Dallas-based e-Rewards recruits and pays volunteers via the Internet to test products for its clients, similar to Research Now, and is ran by Hal Brierley, who founded the firm in 1999.

“The acquisition of Research Now by e-Rewards represents the coming together of two well regarded companies to form a significant global firm that will be well positioned to serve the international online fieldwork and online panel sample services needs of marketing decision makers and market researchers,” Brierley said in a statement on Friday.

The offer represents a 30 percent premium to Research Now’s closing price of 330 pence on September 4, the last day before the indicative offer letter, the two firms said.

Research Now shares have risen since then to close at 420 pence on Thursday.

The company, which reported a strong set of first half results in July, said it had had a good year, benefiting from a diverse international exposure.

Performance for the year to the end of October 2009 should be in line with its expectations, it added.

Reporting by Rosalba O’Brien; Editing by Lorraine Turner