Neuromarketing specialist EmSense may be sold and/or broken up, according to reports in the press and comments by one of its senior execs. The firm is said not to be taking any new project work, pending the results of sales negotiations.
Two of the company's senior execs, W. Bryan Smith & President and CEO Keith Winter, cancelled a presentation on predicting movie box office they were due to give at the ESOMAR Conference yesterday, leading to speculation on Twitter. Chief Analytics Officer Elissa Moses has since confirmed to www.mediapost.com that EmSense is 'going through a sales process', expected to be completed soon, and while seeing all current project commitments through to completion, will not take on any new work for the duration.
Moses says an investment banking firm has been hired to handle the negotiations, which may include the possibilities of breaking up the company, selling off its technology, brands and/or intellectual property. These include the EmGear wireless headset and the EmBand 24 sensor; and an 'in-home' research panel billed as the world's first to employ neuroscience technology.
There is currently no indication as to who EmSense's suitors might be, although the company works with a number of global agencies in specific areas: including Millward Brown for ad copy testing and Dynamic Logic for online; GfK for in-store research; and SymphonyIRI for its in-home panel. Competitor NeuroFocus, said to be the only company in the sector larger than EmSense, was acquired by research giant Nielsen in May, and EmSense's technology may find a home and a more massive market as part of one or more of these agencies - but at present there is no specific information as to who might be buying, or precisely why the firm might be selling.
EmSense was founded in 2004 by six former students of the M.I.T. Media Lab including CTO Hans Lee, along with Lee's father Michael. The firm has received considerable investment from Silicon Valley funds, including $9m in Series C funding last November.
Web site: www.emsense.com .
All articles 2006-23 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.