In our Future of Media Report 2007, we did an analysis of all media industry transactions of more than US$1 billion from 1993 to mid-year 2007. The transactions are not legible in the image below, so to get full details and analysis on the media industry transactions, click on the image for the complete Report.
Even at a high level of the general trends in activity, two things stand out. The first is the sharp rise in activity in 1999-2000, highlighted by the massive US$166 billion AOL/ Time Warner merger (remember that?), which still dwarfs any other transactions in the media sector, followed by a spectacular slump in activity in the following three years.
The second is how fast activity has risen in the last 18 months. Remember that the 2007 figures in the table are for the first half-year only. In fact if you take out the AOL transaction as an extraordinary one-off, there is a far faster pace of activity today than even in the boom years at the turn of the century. The question is, of course, whether this pace will be maintained or even accelerate, or whether it will again decline. While the answer is significantly related to stockmarket levels, since so much of the activity has been private equity-based, there is the potential for transactions to continue even after a fall in equity prices, as private equity firms snap up opportunities.