Dealmaking is back, even if you don't count the Verizon Wireless buyout.
After a two-year relative drought in media dealmaking, consolidation is here again, according to a report from PwC. The consulting and auditing firm found that in entertainment, media, and communications, 648 deals have been announced through September 13 of this year, compared to 594 billion during the same time period in 2012. The total deal value, not counting Verizon's $130 billion acquisition of Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless stake in September, jumped to $77 billion from $50 billion.
Companies (three of them) were willing to think big.
The three largest deals were all above $16 billion — the Verizon buyout, Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, and John Malone's Liberty Global's purchase of Virgin Media made up for the majority of the total deal volume so far this year. The next largest acquisition was the Tribune Company's purchase of 19 local TV stations for $2.7 billion.
Competing for airspace.
PwC expects data on mobile networks to grow 66% in the next five years, [posing] challenges to network operators as they attempt to combat network congestion and maintain their network quality." This means companies will need to use whatever spectrum, the radio frequencies used to transmit data, they have efficiently. Companies are likely to buy startups in the network management space or just by buy more of it (like AT&T's announced acquisition of Leap Wireless).