Media sector is coming back

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Seth Alpert is managing director and a partner at media investment bank AdMedia Partners. Media Business: How is the media M&A market shaping up for the rest of the year? Alpert: The basic environment for the media sector is improving—the market is coming back in a nice way as illustrated by UBM's acquisition of Canon Communications. Companies that are thriving despite the economic environment, showing growth and managing their margins, are attractive targets and will command decent multiples. MB: How big are the appetites of traditional media companies for marketing services organizations? Alpert: The interest level is up. It started in 2007 with Meredith Corp. buying up some digital companies and was followed up this year with Hearst's acquisition of iCrossing. Other large publishers are intrigued because they see marketing services as a growth business and are coming to believe that it offers another way to serve their advertisers MB: What are some of the M&A trends you're seeing in the digital arena? Alpert: On the media side, I'm still looking for the middle market to develop. Most digital media deals have been either very big or very small, and there's been very little in between. As digital media companies with $10 million to $200 million in revenue and good margins develop and are put up for sale, I think we will see a surge in middle market digital media deals.
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