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UK media M&A all time low but looking up

January 19, 2010

In 2009 UK media deals hit their lowest levels since the dot com crash as deal volume fell 36 per cent on the previous year, PricewaterhouseCoopers has reported.

But the transformation of traditional media companies, continued reduction of debt levels, and a steadily strengthening economy all signpost a rise in M&A activity in 2010.

Just 29 media transactions totalling E2.7 billion were completed in the UK in 2009. Deal volume and value fell 36 per cent compared with 2008 when 45 deals worth a E4.1 billion were recorded.

A total of 90 deals worth a combined E6.3 billion were completed across Europe last year. This represents a year-on-year fall of 33 per cent by volume and 63 per cent by value. In 2008, 135 deals totalling E17.1 billion were recorded.

Andy Morgan, TMT corporate finance partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, said: “Trade buyers might have been expected to make a bigger splash last year given the generally low level of PE competition. But only exceptional assets were saleable and, with all but the most desperate vendors unwilling to countenance credit-crunch pricing, negotiations often ended in deadlock.”

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