M&A activity spikes 46% | Media Analysis | Business
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Global telecommunications, media and technology deals reached an all-time high in 2015 according to research firm Mergermarket, with 3,021 transactions valued at $768.3 billion, a 46% increase over 2014.

TMT M&A increased its presence in global deal-making, accounting for an 18% market share of total activity, up from 16% in 2014, and the second highest on Mergermarket record (since 2001) following 2013 (23%).

The US was the most targeted country for Technology M&A activity, attracting $249.4 billion worth of deals, an increase of 92.1% compared with 2014 ($ 129.8 billion). M&A activity targeting the technology sub-sector (2,225 deals, US$ 421.6bn), drove overall TMT value during 2015, increasing 88% compared with 2014 to reach both its highest deal value and count on Mergermarket record.

The media sub-sector saw 600 deals for a total of $87.4 billion, reaching its highest annual value since 2007; the $78.7 billion Charter-TWC merger ranked as the largest US deal in the overall TMT market. Telecoms (196 deals, $ 259.3 billion) achieved its highest annual value on record, a 5.8% increase by value compared to 2014 ($ 223.9 billion, 194 deals), and 2.1% above 2013’s previous record ($254 billion, 239 deals). Similarly, media (600 deals, US$ 87.4 billion) reached its highest annual value since 2007, highlighting a spread of interest in deals throughout the TMT sector.

Mergermarket believes the momentum will continue this year. “The golden age of TMT M&A looks set to continue into 2016, driven in particular by US activity as companies seek to expand their presence in new markets,” the company said in its report. “The sector will continue to draw attention from a diverse range of investors seeking to innovate in the face of transforming consumer demands.”

The news comes as broadcast station mergers and acquisitions (M&A) volume spiked as well, reaching $486.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to SNLKagan.

That total is low compared to the more than $3 billion of the previous quarter, but it is still more than the deal volume of the first half of the year. There were no billion-dollar deals in the fourth quarter, and only one transaction of more than $100 million. But, with 37 transactions of $1 million or more, Q4 delivered a similarly solid number of million-dollar deals as the previous quarter (38 deals over $1 million).

The TV market ended the year with an average 8.4x forward seller's multiple (0.1 point higher than at the end of Q3). The radio cash flow (CF) multiple remained unchanged at 6.7x. The top TV deal and the only hundred-million-dollar deal of the quarter was Nexstar Broadcasting's $130 million (8.4x CF) acquisition of the CBS outlets in the West Virginia markets of Charleston-Huntington, Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill and Wheeling, as well as the NBC affiliate in Clarksburg, from West Virginia Media Holdings.