M&A Prospects 2009
Deals are down but that means prices are too.
The number of media acquisitions has plummeted over the last year and thereâs little chance of a rebound in 2009, particularly for the blockbuster, private equity-driven deals that dominated the marketplace until recently.
However, attendees at last monthâs DeSilva & Phillips Media Dealmakers Summit said they are looking for deals, particularly as prices that have soared during the latest boom, come back to earth. âThe last three deals we did were 3X, tops,â said Pat Kenealy, managing director of IDG Ventures SF. âYou can do deals now at a price you wouldnât have dreamed of a year ago.â
Kenealy said social networks are monetizeable. âWeâre seeing business models emerge,â he added. âWe invested in a company that makes Facebook applications for industries such as nursing. Six months later there were more than 600,000 nurses using it. Compare that to the typical controlled circulation.â
Print, Events Still Worthy
Other attendees said they are still looking for traditional media as well. Reed Exhibitions CEO Mike Rusbridge said Reed is exploring acquisitions in the U.S. âWe havenât seen anything as appealing as expos,â he added. âConferences donât do it and events in general donât do it either.â
Many attendees spoke of developing print models more dependent on subscriptions and paid content. The Economist Groupâs Roll Call gets 50 percent of revenue from subscriptions. Overall, The Economist Group has seen events impacted more severely than print, according to director of development Todd Tauber.