Bulls charge in European entertainment and media M&A market

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 29 January 2015

Analysis from PwC has revealed the very bullish state of the European entertainment and media industry's M&A activity over 2014.

PwC said that the volume of M&A activity across the industry in 2014 showed that the rebound in deals value since the post-financial crisis trough has been far more marked than the recovery in deal volumes. Indeed the data showed that deal value in 2013 and 2014 was three times the annual levels of 2010-2012 with the E&M total deal value in H2 2014 being the largest the company has seen.

Aggregate media deal value in 2013 and 2014 was found to be three times the annual levels of 2010-2012 – an increase that reflects the return of 'megadeals' in the media space over the past two years, particularly in the cable and satellite sector. The latter two platforms dominated the European top ten by value, accounting for the six largest deals – compared to only three sizeable cable and satellite deals in 2012-2013.

"The total value of European entertainment and media deals in the second half of 2014 was the largest ever seen in a half-year period," commented Mark Maitland, TMT strategy partner at PwC. "Megadeals completed in 2014 included Liberty Global's acquisition of Ziggo, and BSkyB's acquisition of Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia."

The survey also revealed an interesting difference between the UK and the rest of Europe. In the latter territory, deals were dominated by corporate trade buyers while in the UK private equity had a more significant presence in the top ten, such as Apax Partners' purchase of the remaining stake in Trader Media Group (now Auto Trader), and other large deals completed by BC Partners, Cision (GTCR-owned) and Lake Capital Partners.