Digital strategies driving deals

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Roland DeSilva, managing partner of media investment bank DeSilva & Phillips, said he sees more caution in the marketplace for b-to-b media deals because of the ongoing credit crisis. But he was quick to add a caveat: “That doesn't mean everyone is pulling back and saying, "Oh, my god, the sky is falling.' That would be absolutely incorrect.” Despite the sluggish economy there is still demand for properties that are anchored in multiple platforms (print, online and events) and can show double-digit revenue growth in their digital operations, DeSilva said. “A company that basically is agnostic about how it delivers information to its audience is valuable to buy,” he said. “But the most important factor for b-to-b media companies is a strong digital strategy.” DeSilva said activity involving deals of less than $300 million continues to be strong. He pointed to Arlington Capital Partners' recent acquisition of Virgo Publishing as the type of deal that fits that type of profile. (DeSilva & Phillips represented Virgo in the deal.) Although private equity companies are feeling the effects of the credit crunch, DeSilva said, there is a “level playing field” for media transactions among strategic b-to-b media companies, strategic companies backed by private equity and pure private equity players. “Whoever wants the deal will get it,” he said. —M.S.
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