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Bullish M&A forecast for new year

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New York—Almost 60% of senior executives in the media and marketing industries said they expect to seek an acquisition this year, according to the “2012 Mergers and Acquisitions Prospects for Media, Marketing Services and Related Technology Firms” survey conducted in November by AdMedia Partners. That figure is up from 40% in last year's survey. The 18th annual online survey was sent to 7,300 senior executives in the media and marketing industries, although AdMedia did not indicate how many responded. It found that 48% of respondents expect to contemplate a sale of their company or a subsidiary. That figure is up from 36% last year. “It is very positive with a couple of little caveats,” said Seth Alpert, managing director at AdMedia Partners. Alpert pointed out that traditional b-to-b media may be less active due to its low EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), with 69% of respondents expecting EBITDA multiples for b-to-b media to be 6x or less. Meanwhile, 64% of respondents in social marketing expected a 7x EBITDA or greater this year. “I would read that as saying traditional business media companies are going to be very hard to sell,” Alpert said.
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