BY Richard Summerfield
2017 is likely to see increased mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the media and entertainment (M&E) sector, according to EY’s latest Media & Entertainment Capital Confidence Barometer, released earlier this week.
Much of the dealmaking activity in the M&E space in the coming year will be likely be driven, in part, by digital disruption and convergence. The emergence of digital disruption and sector blurring in particular has proved a key driver of recent dealmaking in the M&E space, with 31 percent of the executives surveyed by EY citing convergence as the biggest disrupter in the industry of late. Increasingly, companies are expanding into previously uncharted territory. Sixty-seven percent saw digital disruption as the main catalyst for deal aking in the coming year.
In a statement announcing the report, John Harrison, EY's Global Media & Entertainment Leader, Transaction Advisory Services, said, “Unprecedented, unrelenting advances in technology and the swift emergence of new platforms and services are driving change in consumer behaviours, upending long-standing media ecosystems and blurring sector lines. Companies are aggressively seeking the innovation needed to position for future success and are looking to acquisitions, alliances and joint ventures to catalyse transformation.”
Despite the political and economic uncertainty permeating the globe, there is an underlying confidence in the M&E industry, particularly when it comes to dealmaking. In spite of persistent macroeconomic challenges, 73 percent of respondents perceived the global economy as stable or improving.
From a dealmaking perspective, 85 percent of respondents expressed confidence in the quality of acquisition opportunities available to M&E companies in the year to come. Furthermore, 94 percent of respondents claimed they had stable to positive confidence in the likelihood of closing a deal in 2017. More than half of respondents (56 percent) claimed that they expect their company to actively pursue an acquisition in the next 12 months, up from 46 percent in July 2016. Forty-eight percent said they have five or more deals in the pipeline.
Cross-border dealmaking is likely to be particularly prevalent in 2017, with 42 percent of executives claiming that their companies will be targeting a cross-border acquisition in the coming year. The US, France, the UK, Germany and China are the top five most likely destinations. The UK was the most sought after investment destination in EY’s previous report.