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Media M&A Activity Headed for Record Year

Despite some economic concerns, media and information industry mergers and acquisitions activity remained vibrant through the third quarter, according to the The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI).

Across the 11 media and information industry sectors tracked by JEGI, acquirers completed 493 transactions through the third quarter - 24 percent more than in the year-ago period - and media and information industry M&A activity is on track to far surpass the record levels set in 2005, when 508 transactions were completed.

The online media and marketing & interactive services sectors saw the completion of 131 and 116 transactions, respectively, during the first three quarters of 2006, representing half of total media and information deal activity. Ad spending is continuing to shift online, and diversified media companies are looking to capture new growth through online media and marketing services acquisitions.

Some representative transactions include NBC Universal's acquisition of iVillage, MTV Networks' (Viacom) acquisition of Atom Entertainment, and Reader's Digest purchase of AllRecipes.com.

Overall deal value is relatively flat year-over-year, as fewer "mega-deals" were transacted in the directory and online media sectors, such as last year's $1.8 billion acquisition of Ask Jeeves by IAC.

Other sectors contributing to the growth of M&A activity through Q3 include consumer magazines (number of deals up 16%); database information services (number of deals up 31%); exhibitions and conferences (number of deals up 17%); and newsletter publishing (number of deals up 19%).

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