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Media M&A deals decline in first quarter but total value rises

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New York—Despite the slowing economy, mergers and acquisitions in the media and information industries kept up a fairly strong pace in the first quarter, according to a report released Tuesday by media investment bank Jordan, Edmiston Group.

Among the 11 media and information industries tracked by Jordan, Edmiston, there were 202 transactions in the first quarter, down from 207 transactions during the same period in 2007. However, the deal value rose to $13.4 billion, from $12.8 billion.

The number of trade magazine deals fell to five from nine, while the deal value dropped to $305 million, from $634 million.

“Many of the largest b-to-b media companies traded over the past few years, including Penton, Advanstar, ALM, Incisive Media and Nielsen (formerly VNU), so we expect a period dominated by restructuring and smaller tuck-in acquisitions,” the report said.

The number of online media deals grew to 77 from 72, while the deal value jumped to $3 billion, from $1.7 billion.

AOL’s $850 million acquisition of Bebo helped lift the deal value in this year’s first quarter. So, too, did strategic b-to-b media companies that have invested in new media properties to retool their business, including Questex Media’s acquisition of FierceMarkets and Pearson’s acquisition of Money-Media.

—Matthew Schwartz

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