Pricewaterhouse: Media Deals Slow Dramatically, No Rescue In '09

hand shake crossoutMedia transactions slowed to their lowest level in years in 2008, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers--with much more dire news to come.

With the exception of deals started a couple of years previously, merger-and-acquisition activity only registered a total of $74.6 billion, a significant decline from prior periods, according to the research and consulting company.

A total of 1,000 deals were completed in 2008, down 17% from 1,202 in 2007. PricewaterhouseCoopers said this was a direct result of troubling market conditions.

For 2009, the company predicts that the entertainment and media activity will continue on a downward trend--and will be at significantly lower levels versus the last two or three years.

The consultancy says a rapid decline in advertising and consumer spending is expected to severely hurt business, not to mention harder-to-get credit markets supporting this activity.



For the entertainment and media industry, the actual dollar volume of deals completed was $150.8 billion--the highest level since 2001. But many of the major deals--about half that dollar volume--were started in 2006, in the midst of a still-thriving economy.

One glaring example is late-year "pending" deals: As of Dec. 31, 2008 this came to $6.7 billion, a significant drop from last year's pending total of $100.8 billion.

Breaking down 2008 by business segment:

* The biggest segment in terms of overall dollars was with broadcasting--$36 billion, climbing $18.9 million in 2007. Broadcasting value represents 24% of all entertainment and media deals in 2008.

* Casino and gaming climbed to $30.4 billion in 2008 from $8.5 billion in 2007 in overall value, from 14 completed deals.

* Cable business deals soared to $28.2 billion from $1.5 billion in 2007, from 32 deals that concluded.

* Internet business-to-business activity had the most number of deals in 2008: 305, up 31%. Internet deals were at $31.7 billion, second to broadcasting for the whole entertainment and media industry.

* The publishing segment continued its troubles: an 86% decline in value to $5.6 billion and 37% fewer deals to 128.

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