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M&A Plunges in Q3

Mergers & acquisitions volume in the media sector plunged dramatically in the third quarter, totaling $23 billion in the period compared to $76 billion in the prior quarter, as mega-deals were replaced by smaller purchases, according to research firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.   

Overall M&A volume stayed about the same in Q3 (207 vs. 221 in Q2). So far this year volume slightly trails 2014 (629 deals compared to 655 last year), and quarterly volumes remained above 200 for the eighth consecutive quarter. According to PwC, that shows dealmakers remain bullish on transactions and continue to be active in the market.

The biggest difference in Q3 was the relative lack of megadeals (transactions of $1 billion or more). In Q3 the number of megadeals dipped to three, accounting for 71% of total value of $16 billion, compared to seven deals worth $74 billion in Q2.

Despite the decline in Q3, PwC remains optimistic that activity will pick up.

“Whether driven by an influx of quality content being developed by traditional and non-traditional players; or changing consumer demographics and preferences; or the ubiquity of mobile and video offerings among industry players, PwC expects M&A activity across EMC sectors will continue into the last quarter of 2015 and well into 2016,” PwC said in a statement.

Here’s PwC’s take on Q3 sector activity and outlook:  

  • Cable: Cable had a solid start to the year with four deals announced in Q1 and five announced in Q2 2015. While Q3 saw two deals – one of which was a megadeal transaction, PwC believes cable companies continue to look towards consolidation and operators are reaching out to competitors with similar footprints to take advantage of synergies, economies of scale, etc.
  • Communications: Deal activity in Communications continued its momentum from Q2, with deal volumes remaining strong in Q3. Consistent with the last quarter, there was interest across a broad range of industries, from network services/solutions to communication towers and satellites. Both deal volume and value remained steady at 26 deals and $2 billion respectively in Q3, compared to 29 and $3 billion in Q2. The return of Communications deal volume to the peak levels of 2014 has now been maintained for two consecutive quarters; which paints a positive picture for future M&A activity.
  • Broadcasting: 2013 and early 2014 saw considerable consolidation and megadeals within the Broadcasting space as market participants sought to grow scale, capitalize on geographic synergies and cash in on retransmission fees. While this trend appeared to slow in recent quarters, Broadcasting has reemerged in the current quarter as a key contributor to deal volume and value. Deal volume more than tripled to 17 announced deals in Q3, and deal value spiked to over $7B. In fact, two of the three megadeals within Q3 were broadcasting deals and it remains to be seen how these transactions will play out.