No slowdown in b-to-b deals

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With Valcon's acquisition of VNU virtually a done deal, there are few big-ticket items still in play. But that doesn't necessarily mean a slowdown in what has been a steady pace of b-to-b media deals over the last two years, according to Roger Aquinaldo, CEO-publisher of The M&A Advisor.

There are still plenty of niche properties available, said Aquinaldo, who generally covers middle-market transactions in the range of $10 million to $1 billion.

"Middle-market companies are acquiring other middle-market companies and smaller companies so they can grow, get additional access to bigger properties, or go public or be acquired themselves by even bigger companies," he said.

Aquinaldo noted three b-to-b media categories positioned for growth: geography (regional titles); industrial markets; and demographics (media properties that focus on cultural and population shifts). "The subcategories are infinite," he said, adding the caveat that buyers make sure the properties they're eyeing are "not too niche" and provide enough of a base of subscribers to build on.

Private equity players will continue to drive b-to-b media transactions, Aquinaldo said. "Capital markets are still good, but if the banks start seeing things that might derail their investments you'll see deals start to dry up," he said.

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