M&A activity in the media and marketing industry increased last year, with deal volume up 3% to 1,611 transactions compared with 1,570 transactions in 2011, according to data released earlier this year by media investment bank Berkery, Noyes & Co. Media Business recently spoke with Managing Director Evan Klein about what's driving the deals.
Media Business: Strategic buyers accounted for most media and marketing industry deals last year. Will more financial buyers come back in 2013?
Evan Klein: Certainly the greatest number of deals came from the strategics (accounting for 87% of deal volume and 64% of deal value, according to Berkery Noyes). Private equity guys don't want to make $1 million, $2 million, $3 million acquisitions. A lot of (the transactions last year) were on the smaller side. Last year, we saw interest from the financial community—the only thing holding them back was the leverage they could put on businesses. Dell Inc. agreed in early February to be acquired by Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners, a deal valued at more than $20 billion—again on the larger side of transactions, which are the first that come back to the market. The debt markets are open; they're more open for larger deals, but it's starting to trickle down. ... This year, we'll see a very strong market both from strategics that still have a lot of cash and are still generating cash and also from the financial community that wants to do deals and get back in the market. If you have a good company, there's no lack of interested parties.