European Media M&A Up 75 Percent in 2006; UK Subdued

European media M&A markets is at an all-time high, though UK has been a dampener, according to a report by PwC. The total deal value for 2006 rose 75 percent to about $56 billion…it was led by PE players including Permira and KKR that drove takeovers worth $24.6 billion, up 111 percent on 2005.
Private equity firms were responsible for three of the four largest European media deals of last year — Valcon’s $10 billion acquisition of VNU; KKR’s $4.3 billion buy out of France Telecom’s directories business Pages-Jaunes in France; and Permira/KKR’s purchase of 50.5% of German broadcast group ProSiebenSat 1 for $3.9 billion.
The growth was focused on continental Europe, where deal values rose 123 percent to $37.9 billion, a level not seen since the dotcom boom in 2000. The U.K. market, however, saw a substantial drop in activity as investors found better value on the continent. There were many “near” deals in UK, including the aborted disposal of Daily Mail & General Trust’s regional newspapers and the unsuccessful attempts to buy ITV and EMI.
Although online “mega-deals” were in short supply — the largest was the Euro 305 million acquisition of the UK utilities price information site uSwitch by EW Scripps of the US — the number of deals weighing in at over Euro 100m in 2006 increased to five from four the previous year.
Also, US corporates were noticeable by their absence last year as they dealt with a weakening dollar and focused primarily on the Far East, the report says.
For major deals in the Online/Digital Sector 2006, click here to see the full chart.
The release here and the report is available for download here as a PDF.