Digital strategies are driving deals

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Jeffrey Stevenson is the managing partner of Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a private equity fund specializing in the media, communications and information industries. Media Business: How do you see the media M&A market shaping up for the second half of the year in terms of both volume and transactional value? Stevenson: Activity is picking up, [and] financing has become more available and seems to be pointing in the right direction. In terms of credit, it's much more available at the capital markets, but it's still relatively tight at the lower end of the middle markets. MB: Do you think the middle market will continue to drive the majority of b-to-b media deals for the foreseeable future? Stevenson: We look at the middle market as transactions under $500 million, [so b-to-b in general] would be at the lower end of the middle market. But as the economy improves, it's not just the middle market, but I think you'll see activity at the larger end as well because there's a significant amount of cash that's building up on corporate balance sheets that companies want to put to work. MB: What types of media properties are buyers keen on right now? Stevenson: Companies that have a digital strategy. Print is still out of favor and not likely to come back other than in the form of being in a transition from print to digital. —M.S.
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