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Special Report: Brokering big deals is old hat for analyst Appert

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Who: Peter Appert

What: Managing director

Where: Deutsche Banc Alex, Brown

ANALYSTS/ACADEMIA

Peter Appert, who joined Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown in 1993 as managing director in the research division, was involved in one of the biggest media transactions of 2000: the $1 billion sale of Primark Corp. to Toronto-based Thomson Corp. in September.

But helping to broker a major media deal is all in a day’s work for Appert, who’s been recognized 16 times as one of Wall Street’s top media analysts in the annual Institutional Investor All-American Research Team poll. Prior to joining Deutsche Banc, Appert spent 12 years as managing director and media analyst at C.J. Lawrence Deutsche Bank Securities Corp.

With an eye on 2001, Appert stressed that despite the ongoing shakeout in the Internet market, many of the pure-play Web sites "are still overpriced" and said he expects "tons" more consolidation in the b-to-b space, particularly on the Web. "There’s lots of start-ups, too many players and not enough value," Appert said. "Some of them will go away."

He said that as traditional business further embraces the Web, the deals that lie ahead might be akin to Primedia Inc.’s purchase late last year of About.com Inc. for $690 million in stock.

Because of the reverse in stock valuations the last several months among the pure-plays, such companies will be more vulnerable as takeover targets by traditional media companies and not the other way around, a la America Online Inc. buying Time Warner Inc. in January 2000. "The lesson of 2000 is that traditional media companies are not down and out," Appert said. The doors to capital markets, he added, are being "slammed shut" on the pure-plays.

—Matthew Schwartz

Who: B-to-b analysts Where: Forrester Research Inc. Why: The members of this outfit’s crackerjack b-to-b research crew are too numerous to mention by name and too good not to include everyone. Forrester has conducted some of the most important b-to-b research of late, and has helped companies change their business models and infrastructures to embrace e-commerce.

Who: Roland DeSilva and Reed Phillips What: Managing partners Where: DeSilva & Phillips Inc. Why: They’re considered two of the top financial analysts covering b-to-b media companies. As deal-makers, they’ve negotiated over the years with the top players in the b-to-b space, including Primedia Inc., Emap plc, Ziff Davis Media Inc. and others.

Who: Jon Ekoniak and Tim Klein What: Research analysts Where: U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc. Why: The pair launched "The B2B Analyst" newsletter last year with just a few hundred subscribers and have watched circulation soar to 18,000. They’re constantly taking the pulse of industry decision-makers to identify the most pressing needs of the space.

Who: Rob Enderle What: VP-research leader Where: Giga Information Group Inc. Why: Enderle’s client and research activities have covered the PC space from top b-to-b vendors to technology companies to software providers. He’s currently taking a close look at emerging desktop technologies and anticipating changes in Microsoft products that may make waves in 2001.

Who: Seth Godin What: Author, "Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers" Why: In this seminal and widely read work, Godin trumpets a fundamental change in marketing for the 21st century and has many companies buying into new marketing methods—such as opt-in e-mail —where customer privacy is treated with utmost respect.

Who: Wilma Jordan What: Founder-CEO Where: The Jordan, Edmiston Group Inc. Why: She’s tracked how companies are integrating the media food chain and anticipates more b-to-b deals to that end in 200. And her company will probably make a few of them happen. In 2000 Jordan, Edmiston completed more than 25 transactions worth an aggregate value of more than $500 million.

Who: Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls and David Weinberger What: Co-authors, "The Cluetrain Manifesto" Why: Their book delivers a tough-love message for companies grappling with the Web: Embrace the conversations enabled by electronic networks, or die. Seeing the Internet as forcing profound and deeply humanistic change, this book serves as a key tool for e-businesses.

Who: Pierre Mitchell What: Service director, enterprise management Where: AMR Research Inc. Why: Mitchell, a 10-year veteran in selecting and implementing enterprise solutions for the likes of Xerox Corp., has been a key analyst on indirect procurement and e-business management. His upcoming research focuses on strategic sourcing and content management, red-hot topics for 2001.

Who: Joel Novak and Hal Greenberg What: Managing directors Where: Veronis, Suhler & Associates L.L.C. Why: Together, Novak and Greenberg are invaluable resources for the b-to-b market, providing the hard numbers for b-to-b publishers in VS&A’s "Communications Industry Report," which is released periodically and anticipated always.

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