Friday, January 09, 2009

2008 Media Deals

Deal makers Jordan Edmiston released their annual report this week and of no surprise to anyone, the number and value of media deals completed during 2008 came no where near matching the heady heights of 2007. Only database information services showed strength indicating deal makers support for subscription based (annuity) revenue streams. From the report:
  • With the largest transaction for the year at less than $200 million (the purchase of Randall‐Reilly by Investcorp) the business‐to‐business magazine sector saw modest deal activity in 2008. Number of deals fell 46% to 22 total transactions for the full year, with only two deals in Q4, while total value declined 92% in 2008 versus 2007.
  • Activity in the consumer magazine sector was slow as well, with 42 mostly smaller transactions, representing 25% fewer than in 2007. There were no substantial transactions for the year compared to last year’s sales of Emap, Gemstar and Primedia’s Enthusiast unit.
  • The database information services sector saw a 77% increase in number of deals in 2008 over 2007 with 46 total deals announced. Deal value nearly tripled for this sector in 2008 to $8.8 billion, from $3.2 billion in 2007, excluding the $18.3 billion acquisition of Reuters by Thomson in 2007. The most notable deal in the fourth quarter was Getty Images’ acquisition of Jupiter Images for $96million.
  • There was little activity in 2008 in the educational and professional publishing sector, which showed decreases of 26% in deal count and generally smaller transactions for the year versus 2007. The most notable transaction in this sector was the sale of CQ Press to SAGE in May.
  • The exhibitions and conferences sector was the third most active M&A sector behind marketing services and online media, with 50 transactions in 2008. However, the sector showed declines of 28% and 31% in deal count and transaction value, respectively, compared to 2007. The two most significant deals of the year were VSS’s acquisition of Clarion events in February and Marketplace Event’s acquisition of dmg world media’s North American Consumer Home Shows in July.
  • Marketing and interactive services was once again an M&A leader, generating about the same number of transactions in 2008 as in 2007 and totaling a healthy $12.3 billion for the year, although this was off 50% from 2007 levels. Among the sectors JEGI covers, we are especially bullish on marketing services and anticipate that the advertising slowdown will dramatically alter marketer spending patterns and surface many viable and compelling M&A opportunities, as well as unexpected buyers. This was evident in the fourth quarter with WPP’s announced buyout of TNS for $3.1 billion, Akamai’s $95 million acquisition of acerno, and Crain Communications’ acquisition of Staffing Industry Analysts.
  • The newsletter sector saw deal activity rise 33% and deal value increase slightly by 6% in 2008 versus 2007, albeit off a small number of deals. One of the most notable transactions for the year was Haymarket Media’s acquisition of Compliance Week in July.
  • With 258 transactions worth $9.1 billion, the online media and technology sector continued to remain very active in 2008, even though the sector saw a 18% decline in number of deals and a 26% decrease in deal value in 2008 versus 2007’s hectic deal pace. Major strategic buyers such as eBay,
    Gannett and Monster were active during the fourth quarter, acquiring companies to complement their current offerings. Additionally, Waterfront Media, an online health and self‐help publisher, merged with consumer health online information company Revolution Health Network to create
    the largest online heath group by audience.

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