DeSilva & Phillips predicts stronger media M&A market

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New York--At DeSilva & Phillips M&A Conference 2004 Tuesday, the media investment bank released a report that contained "the good, the bad and the ugly," according to Roland DeSilva and Reed Phillips, the firm's managing partners.

The "ugly" for the media mergers and acquisitions market included a drop in the number of deals from 102 in 2000 to 82 in 2003. An even more precipitous decline took place in the combined value of these deals, which fell from $25 billion in 2000 to $2.7 billion in 2003.

The "bad" was that strategic buyers essentially abandoned the M&A market in 2003 with Time Warner, Primedia, and Conde Nast sitting on the sidelines in 2003 after spending a combined $3.1 billion in 2001.

The "good" that DeSilva and Phillips see is that conditions are improving. For example, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization multiples for b-to-b magazines increased slightly last year.

Overall, "good" will win out this year, DeSilva and Phillips predicted, with bank lending loosening up and private equity and strategic buyers looking to take advantage of lower prices as the b-to-b ad market begins to improve.

--Sean Callahan

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