Isn’t this what got so many publishers in trouble in the first place?

AMI, which just came out of bankruptcy last month, has $50 million in free cash primed for acquisitions, with Maxim at the top of the list, according to WWD.

Penton Media CEO Sharon Rowlands, who brought the b-to-b publisher out of bankruptcy in March 2010, told FOLIO: that last month’s acquisition of Nation’s Restaurant News could be just the start of several new acquisitions, including print, events, digital and data assets across a variety of markets, particularly deals that help bolster Penton’s business in China.

On the one hand, this is could be great news. A vibrant deal market (now that we seem to be moving away from distressed deals as the only game in town) speaks to the gradual recovery of the media industry. Publishers (and executives) emerging from Chapter 11 and crushing debt loads feel like they have a new lease on life and are eager to vindicate their brands with big moves and fast growth and execute on some of that much-needed change everyone always talks about. 

On the other, how much of this is blowhardery from people who haven’t learned a hard lesson?

Let’s just hope it doesn’t spark another round of wheeling and dealing and dangerously unrealistic covenants if publishers start seeking private equity financing again (although who knows if it will be available-a recent report from media banker AdMedia Partners said just 48 percent of financial buyers are interested in b-to-media and even less–38 percent–are interested in traditional consumer media). Those feelings may be mutual–just 33 percent of content companies said they’re looking for investment funding, according to AdMedia.