More Media Mergers Made in 2017, According to PwC Report

Merger and acquisition activity in the U.S. media and telecommunications industry picked up in 2017, though the value of those deals was lower, according to a report by PwC.

There were 876 deals announced in 2017, up 29% from the year before.

Those deals were worth $138.8 billion, down 31%.

Related: Viacom Shares Dip 7% as Deal Fervor Fizzles

Most of the value of those deals was wrapped up in a handful of what PwC terms megadeals, worth $5 billion or more.

Those transactions were the Walt Disney Co.’s proposal to acquire TV and studio assets from 21st Century Fox worth $68.4 billion, Discovery Communication’s bid to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive, worth $11.8 billion and Crown Castle International Corp.’s acquisition of Lightower Fiber Networks, worth $7.1 billion.

PwC said there were another 15 deals valued between $1 billion and $5 billion in 2017.

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The deals come amid big changes in the media business.

“The traditional media players are re-focusing their strategy as they consider what their position will be in the ecosystem and whether they will be part of the next big deal, while non-traditional media players are honing in on the next big value play as they look to have a stake in the new future of [media,]” PwC said in its report.

“Given the robust deal market in 2017, we expect 2018 to be another banner year as companies look to expand on their capabilities and portfolio,” said Bart Spiegel, U.S. media & telecommunications deals partner at PwC. “Many of the deal theses underpinning 2017 M&A will continue into 2018.”

Related: The Five Biggest Deals of 2017

In its report, PwC identified trends that will drive deal making as well as shaping the media and telecom landscape.

They include:

  • The rise of artificial intelligence
  • The importance of creating authentic user experiences
  • Headline-making mega deals as companies seek scale, access to content, technology and operating efficiencies
  • Growth of internet video, internet ads and gaming
  • Network upgrades by telecom companies
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.