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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:

Vivendi, NBC Deal To Create US Media Heavyweight: GE V

September 2003

Vivendi, NBC Deal To Create US Media Heavyweight: GE V

By Janet Whitman

Wednesday September 3rd 2003


NEW YORK (Dow Jones)—Vivendi Universal SA (V) and General Electric Co. (GE) have entered exclusive talks to merge the French conglomerate’s entertainment assets with GE’s NBC, a deal that would create a new media and entertainment heavyweight in the U.S. Under the proposed terms, NBC would control the merged company, while Vivendi would retain a 20% stake. Vivendi’s decision to do a deal with NBC comes months after the debt-laden company put its entertainment assets on the block. Acquiring Vivendi’s entertainment assets - which include the Hollywood movie studio Universal Studios, cable channels such as USA and Sci Fi, a television-production studio responsible for the "Law & Order" franchise, and theme parks - would strengthen NBC’s position as a major provider and packager of content, creating a new vertically integrated media behemoth. 

"It’s a quantum leap forward for GE," Ken Marlin, managing director of media industry investment bank Marlin & Associates, said. "GE has had a credo of always being No. 1, but in media they clearly were not. They had the No. 1 network, but media has long been more (than that). This catapults them into a league with Viacom (VIA) and News Corp. (NWS)" 

Indeed, NBC was the last of the major U.S. television networks to merge with a movie studio or big entertainment cable network, a big disadvantage for the company when competing against media titans like News Corp., owner of Fox; Walt Disney Co. (DIS), owner of ABC; and Viacom, owner of CBS. "The question was, can (NBC) really go it alone without a TV and a movie studio?" an attorney who specializes in media mergers and acquisitions said. "It was matter of time before (GE) either sold (NBC) or combined it with something." 

NBC Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Wright said during an interview with CNBC Tuesday that NBC as "a standalone" was "fine," but combining it with Vivendi’s entertainment assets creates more opportunities for the company. He said that many of Vivendi’s entertainment assets complement NBC’s television operations. Wright, who will head the company, said that the deal will diversify NBC’s source of revenue, which now is almost exclusively derived from advertising. 

The combined company, which would have revenue of $13 billion in 2003, would garner half of its revenue from fees and half from advertising, Wright said. 

Bigger Force In Cable. The combination would make NBC a leading player in cable television, a faster growth area than broadcast television, said John Frelinghuysen, vice president in Booz Allen Hamilton’s media and entertainment practice. He estimated that NBC would jump from its current sixth place in cable advertising sales to third place after Viacom and Disney. "It exposes them to a market with more natural sales growth." With Vivendi’s extensive film library and film production arm, the deal also makes NBC a more considerable content company. "It really makes them much more vertically integrated media company like News Corp or Viacom or Disney," said Frelinghuysen. "Owning all of the content production (capabilities) and libraries and broadcast and cable networks allows them to tie offers together in ways that are similar to the players they compete against."

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