Duly Noted: Gray + Raycom Is A Top M&A Deal


Just how big is Gray Television‘s planned merger with Raycom Media? Mid-market investment bank Berkery Noyes‘ half-year 2018 M&A trend report for the media and marketing industry is out, and there are bunch of company names wholly unfamiliar to most media industry C-Suiters.

But there are Gray and Raycom — and how “notable” of a transaction is their deal?

Berkery Noyes analyzed M&A activity during the first half of 2018 and compared it with the four previous six-month periods from 2016 to 2017.

In particular, Berkery Noyes examined merger and acquisition activity in the entertainment segment, the business-to-business publishing sector, and internet media.

Among all of these companies are Gray and Raycom, providing the broadcast media broker with a story of resilience and value.

The No. 1 “notable transaction” noted by New York-based Berkery Noyes during the first half of 2018 is the $11 billion takeover of Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk by Blackstone Group LP, announced January 31.

This eclipses a mega-deal announced one day earlier — the intended acquisition of United Business Media Ltd. by Informa plc. for $6.17 billion.

Then comes Gray and its $3.45 billion merger arrangement with Raycom Media, announced June 25.

It puts the Gray-Raycom deal, in terms of valuation, ahead of Sony Corporation of America‘s $3.4 billion intended takeover of EMI Music Publishing — among other global deals involving players you’re likely unfamiliar with.

Transaction activity in the Internet Media segment improved 19% in first half 2018, making it the sector with the largest gain during the half year period. Notable Internet Media related transactions thus far in 2018 included SilverLake’s announced acquisition of ZPG, the owner of property website Zoopla, for $3.34 billion; Recruit Holdings’ acquisition of Glassdoor, a job listings and recruiting marketplace that is known for its anonymous employee reviews, for $1.2 billion; and Momo’s announced acquisition of Tantan, a Chinese dating app, for $775 million.

Volume in the Marketing segment, which for the purposes of this report excludes pure software based companies, decreased 21% in first half 2018. High profile Marketing transactions thus far in 2018 included Ocelot Partners’ announced acquisition of Ocean Outdoor, a digital out-of-home advertising company, for $280 million; and GoDaddy’s announced acquisition of Main Street Hub, a social media marketing platform, for $125 million (plus a $50 million earnout).

Meanwhile, the number of acquisitions in the B2B Publishing and Information segment increased 14% in first half 2018; transaction activity in the Consumer Publishing segment declined 20% during the half year period while volume in the Exhibitions, Conferences, and Events segment decreased 14 percent.

Lastly, as shown below, broadcasting remains the smallest M&A segment in the media and marketing arena. That said, activity is up since 2016, while marketing and entertainment are showing some weakness in the last year.