Media M&A Deals Rise 6%

Media and entertainment mergers and acquisition activity climbed slowly in the third quarter. The number of deals climbed 6% to 420 transactions between July and the end of September, says New York-based investment banker Berkery Noyes.

Total value nearly doubled from the second quarter to $44.1 billion -- largely as a result of the massive $20.5 billion Publicis-Omnicom announced merger. Taking this big deal out of the picture means total value gained 6% from the second quarter of this year.

A year ago in the third quarter, there were 225 deals valued at $23.0 billion.

Berkery Noyes says the average price tag -- when it comes to buying on revenue multiples -- grew 40% for the first three quarters of 2013 versus the same time period a year ago. Looking at cash-flow selling multiples -- cash flow being earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- this measure has climbed 23% for the first nine months of 2013 versus the same period in 2012.

The most active was media holding company WPP Group, which made 19 deals -- 10 over the past three months. The biggest category -- marketing -- totaled 132 transactions in the third quarter of 2013, about the same as the second quarter of 2013.

The consumer publishing segment gained 27% in deal volume. Contributing to this category was Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' acquisition of The Washington Post Company for $250 million.

The number of deals involving business-to-business publishing and information climbed 18%. Reed Elsevier made eight transactions recently, including four in the past quarter.

Internet Media deal volume stayed nearly the same with 98 transactions in the third quarter. One big deal: real estate site Zillow acquired real estate Web site StreetEasy for $50 million.

The entertainment segment grew 24% in the number of deals, with the video game subset growing at a faster pace with a 47% gain. The biggest deal: Hasbro’s acquisition of Backflip Studios for $112 million



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