'Steady increase' in deals likely

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Tom O'Connor is managing director at media investment bank Berkery Noyes. Media Business: What do you think the level of media M&A activity will be for the rest of the year? Tom O'Connor: There are several properties on the market right now, and I think you'll see a pickup in deals over the balance of the year—not a huge spike, but a steady increase. The leveraged markets have improved (and) the LTM (last 12 months) numbers have gotten better. We're seeing continued divestment by large strategic companies of noncore properties. In addition, there's a lot of private equity ownership of b-to-b companies, and a lot of those firms are looking to exit their portfolio companies when the market gets a little better. MB: What about private equity players being more active in acquiring b-to-b media properties? O'Connor: Media companies that have diversified their revenue streams and have a high percentage of recurring revenue are very attractive to private equity buyers. Media companies that have events, publications, data, marketing services—and who are showing year-on-year growth—can be attractive to private equity. However, the buyers may not be the same private equity firms that historically were buying and selling b-to-b assets. Private equity has a tremendous amount of capital waiting to be invested, and many firms are taking a fresh look at the marketplace.
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