The number of M&A deals in the European media sector is set to increase in 2005 according to a report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance.
Media Insight estimates that 2005 will see over 110 media transactions, compared to 97 the previous year, an increase of 14%, and a total of 85 in 2003.
Last year witnessed a slight drop in the total value of deals, however, with 2003 recording a figure of €16.8bn and 2004 having a combined total of €16.3bn.
The UK saw an increase in its total value, jumping from €3bn in 2003 to €8bn in 2004. Mainland Europe showed a sharp decline in deal values, from €13bn in 2003 to €8bn in 2004.
PricewaterhouseCoopers recorded a 27% increase across Europe in the number of sub-€100m deals during 2004, there was a slight fall in the number of deals in the €500m to €1bn range, from seven in 2003 to five in 2004. There were three €1bn-plus deals
in 2004, the same number as 2003.
Private equity continued to play a big role in European media M&A activity with six of Europe’s eight largest media deals having private equity backing, including the €2bn purchase of VNU by Apax and Cinven.
The report predicts the coming year will see an increase in the number of acquisitions as corporates have now restructured their balance sheets and are armed with cash.