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In The News

The principals of M&A are quoted regularly and frequently in publications ranging from Business Week and Forbes to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, New York Post, Los Angeles Times, and other major publications worldwide. M&A has been the subject of interviews on business-radio and television programs including the Fox Business News, CBS MarketWatch, The TV, Yahoo! Finance TV, Sirius XM Radio, BBC-Worldwide and CNBC. Below are links to a sample of articles in which M&A has been quoted:

Media stocks tackle net ad challenge

November 2005

Media stocks tackle net ad challenge  

By Aline van Duyn in New York
Nov. 14, 2005  

Brian Roberts, chief executive of the biggest cable operator in the US, recently quipped that Comcast Corp's shares could be picked up in a "going-out-of- business sale" in the stock market. In the two months since then, Comcast's stock price has fallen further, despite growth in revenues and profits. Comcast is no exception. Shares of media and communications companies have been underperforming the broader market for the last five years and there is no obvious sign that this will change in 2006. The reason is not so much their current performance. For Comcast, Time Warner, News Corp and others, growth has remained strong and profits are, for many divisions, higher than ever.

Instead, investors are worried about the future, and particularly concerned that the growing use of the internet and digital distribution of media and communications will erode business models for cable, satellite, telecoms and media groups. Already, advertising growth in traditional media sectors has slowed or is in decline, with internet advertising the fastest-growing segment.

"What the market seems to be saying in totality is that these business models are changing, and the market senses the threat more than the opportunity," said Steven Rattner, managing principal at Quadrangle, a private equity group.

Company efforts to boost share prices - including large share buy-back programmes and strategic shifts to embrace the internet - have yielded few results so far, and investors are starting to demand more action. Their calls are expected to grow as underperformance persists.

"In some cases, knowledgeable institutional investors are saying to management that they need to be more aggressive in managing businesses," said Kenneth Marlin, of Marlin & Associates, which advises media and technology companies. "In other cases, investors are saying that companies have not recognised the changing world and they need to sell their businesses to people who do."

Last week, investors in US newspaper group Knight Ridder threatened to nominate their own directors on the company's board in a effort to force a sale. VNU, which owns market researcher ACNielsen, may scrap a $6.3bn agreement to buy IMS Health after almost half of its shareholders protested. Time Warner is facing pressure from Carl Icahn, the veteran corporate raider who has taken a stake in the media conglomerate and is calling for share buybacks and spin-offs.

A turnaround in sentiment is unlikely unless investors believe strategies for the new digital age will be successful. Alternatively, shares may fall so much that investors will be tempted to buy again. "Even an investor bearish on cable fundamentals will admit that at some price Comcast is a buy," said Raymond Katz, analyst at Bear Stearns. Additional reporting by Joshua Chaffin

Copyright The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved.

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