EY’s M&E Capital Confidence Barometer reveals a significant focus on acquisitions

The 18th Media & Entertainment Capital Confidence Barometer reveals a significant focus on acquisitions, supported by releasing capital via divestments Media and entertainment executives remain focused on M&A in 2018, driven by confidence in business fundamentals and the near-term performance outlook, along with a longer-term need to strategically position the portfolio for future growth.

Dramatic increase in dealmaking intentions

In EY’s 18th Media & Entertainment Global Capital Confidence Barometer, respondents are positive about the M&A market, with 72 per cent expecting it to improve in the next 12 months, up dramatically from 47 per cent six months ago. Respondents also cite strong expectations for dealmaking, with 60 per cent expecting their M&A pipeline to increase over the next 12 months and 63 per cent expecting a greater number of deal completions, compared with the previous 12 months. Among midsize and larger media and entertainment companies, the strategic imperative to pursue acquisitions remains strong. Approximately 55 per cent of companies with revenues of $1 billion or more intend to pursue acquisitions in the year ahead. Generally, media and entertainment companies’ targets today are businesses that add scale, differentiate their content portfolio, or fill gaps in their technology, talent or content.

At the same time, 74 per cent of executives say that their last portfolio review identified an asset to divest. They are looking to shed businesses that no longer fit their core strategy, have slower growth profiles than their core assets or require significantly more capital allocation than core assets.

Confidence in performance

Executives remain highly confident in their current performance - 100 per cent expect improving or stable corporate earnings in the sector. What’s more, 100 per cent also see the global economy in which they operate as stable or improving. From a position of confidence, media and entertainment executives are exercising deal discipline on the buy side and exploiting opportunity on the sell side - engaging more tactically above the fray of heated M&A competition and heightened regulatory and political uncertainty.

Heated competition

The number of media and entertainment executives who see an increase in dealmaking competition in this Barometer (88 per cent) has almost doubled in six months - mainly (67 per cent) because of a surge in activity by private equity funds. Three-quarters (75 per cent) say they have failed to complete a deal or have walked away from one in the past 12 months - mainly (61 per cent) because of competition from other buyers or disagreement on price/ valuation.

Changing boardroom agenda

Portfolio transformation is the top priority for boardrooms, with 73 per cent of respondents identifying it as one of their top three concerns for the next six months. At the same time, boards’ attention has pivoted somewhat toward increasing economic and political uncertainty (now up 25 points in six months, to 40 per cent), and regulatory and government intervention (now up 18 points in six months, to 21 per cent). Digital transformation and shareholder activism remain important, with 21 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively, of boards citing them as important.


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