European Media Merger Mania at Six-Year High

01 February 2007


LONDON: According to PricewaterhouseCoopers' Media Insights report, published Wednesday, Europe's media industry enjoyed - if that is the right word - its headiest year of mergers and acquisitions since the dotcom bubble burst in 2000.

Overall M&A activity in 2006 rose by a staggering 75% to €43 billion ($55.7bn; £28.4bn).

Whether or not this is good news for the media industry is a matter of debate. But there's not the faintest flicker of doubt that it showered manna upon the heads of the moneymen and their camp followers.

Gloats Olivier Wolf, PwC head of media: "Last year saw some real growth in media M&A activity and values. In fact, we are reaching the heights of 2000 which many thought would never be seen again.

"Private equity firms recognise that the European media market is offering strong growth potential for investors and as a result invested 44% of the aggregate deal value."

Among the deals contributing to the feeding frenzy were the €7.7bn purchase of VNU by Valcon Acquisition; the €3.3bn sale of French publisher Pages-Jaunes Groupe to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts; and Permira/KKR's purchase for €3.0bn of a 50.5% stake in Germany's Prosieben Sat1.

And the prospects for 2007?

To the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus played on old-time cash registers, Wolf predicts: "We expect the media M&A market to remain strong in Europe . . . with a total of 175 deals completed in the media sector during the year, while the value of deals completed [will] be about €40bn."

Data sourced from mad.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff