From their press release:
M&A activity for the first half of 2008 was increasingly cloudy, but with continued bright spots in several areas, especially in the Online Media & Technology and Marketing & Interactive Services sectors, as well as in sub-$1 billion transactions. High-quality, innovative mid-sized companies continued to trade at a brisk pace, as diversified media and marketing groups, major technology companies, and private equity investors continue to participate in the “retooling” of the media and marketing services industries. In spite of economic pressures, ongoing turmoil in the financial markets, and concerns about consumer confidence, the total number of transactions for media, information, marketing services and related technologies increased slightly to 404, versus 397 in the prior year. Deal value, however, was down dramatically to $23.2 billion from $65.8 billion in the same period in 2007.
They also offer some consolidated highlights thus far on the year:
M&A activity in the first half of 2008 showed less than half the number of transactions for business-to-business magazines, compared to the first half of 2007. Deal value decreased 85% in 2008 from 2007 levels, as there was no transaction in this sector to offset VSS’s $1.1 billion acquisition of Advanstar in the first half of 2007.
* Consumer magazines also slowed significantly in the first half of 2008 in number of deals (down 38%) and value (down 82%), compared to the first half of 2007. In the first half of 2008, there were no transactions over $500 million in value, compared to Source Interlink’s $1.2 billion acquisition of Primedia’s Enthusiast Media group last year.
* The number of deals for the database and information services sector was up 29% in the first half of 2008. However, the first half of 2007 included Thomson’s $18+ billion acquisition of Reuters. Without this transaction, deal value for this sector would have nearly tripled in 2008 over 2007 levels.
* Half as many transactions occurred in the educational and professional publishing sector in the first half of 2008 versus the first half of 2007. 2008 includes JEGI’s sale of CQ Press to SAGE. However, total deal value was down considerably mainly due to the $7.75 billion acquisition of Thomson Learning by Apax Partners and Omers Capital Partners in the first half of 2007.