Big Media Snaps Up More Online Shops

In the latest example of a big media company acquiring tech-related businesses, U.K.-based publisher United Business Media announced Thursday that it was purchasing a pair of online concerns: publishing and analysis firm Light Reading, Inc. and media platform TechOnLine.

Other recent deals include Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. purchase of Scout Media, Media General's buy-out of advergamer Blackdot Inc. and Gannett's purchase of the rich media technology company PointRoll.

"Diversified media has a mandate to grow and to own growth businesses, and right now, many of those businesses are digital," says Tolman Geffs, managing director at Jordan, Edmiston, a New York firm that specializes in middle-market merger and acquisition advisory services to the media and information industries.

Jordan, Edmiston represented PointRoll, Light Reading Inc., and Informex in their negotiations with the traditional media entities that eventually subsumed them. Jordan, Edmiston also recently released a study indicating that--for the first time--the majority of online acquisitions in recent months had come at the behest of major diversified media companies.

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"Each of these companies is looking to redeploy some percentage of their capital to high-growth businesses and to reach their audiences and advertisers in newer and more targeted ways," says Geffs. And I think that big media's timing is pretty good--they are paying good prices, but given the growth of these businesses, they are going to look like very good acquisitions in two to three years."

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