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Government Stats Show Busy Broadcast, Telecom M&A in FY2013

Federal Trade Commission and Justice Deptartment stats confirm what has been obvious anecdotally: There was a lot of M&A activity in the broadcast and telecom sectors in the past couple of years.

According to a just-released report from the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice, there were 21 broadcast-related deals valued at over approximately $70 million in fiscal year 2013*—the trigger for antitrust review—and 30 telecom deals over that amount.

Justice and the FTC divide up antitrust reviews, but DOJ has historically vetted broadcast and telecom deals, as was the case with all such transactions in fiscal year 2013.

On the broadcast side, those 21 deals represented 1.6% of the 1,286 deals filed with the government for antitrust review, double the percentage that broadcast deals represented of the total in 2012.

On the telecom side, the deals represented 2.3% of the deal total, up dramatically from the .3% of the total telecom represented in 2012.

Of the broadcast deals submitted for review, only four warranted an initial investigation by DOJ, while that number was 10 for the telecom mergers. None of those were blocked.

In fact, the vast majority of the $815 billion in deals submitted for antitrust review—over 80% of them—were deemed not to need that preliminary review for antitrust problems.

One big deal in FY2013 that was referred to the Federal Trade Commission was the Nielsen/Arbitron merger, the report notes. In that case, the commission required Nielsen to divest assets related to cross-platform measurement.

* Oct. 1, 2012-Sept. 30, 2013.