Radio’s pace of deal-making continued to slowly inch along during 2021, but S&P Global’s tally of the broader media and telecommunications market showed a faster pace of activity. It says the number of mergers and acquisitions during December was up 7.5% last year compared to a year earlier. There were 115 deal announcements with disclosed transaction values in December 2021, compared to 111 deals announced in November 2021. The sector had 107 deals in December 2020.
Last month’s biggest deals included two from broadcasting – including one from radio: Good Karma Broadcasting’s pending $15 million deal to buy three AMs from the Walt Disney Company. The stations include “ESPN 1050” WEPN, New York; “ESPN 710” KSPN, Los Angeles; and “ESPN 1000” WMVP, Chicago.
The other top ten deal was a $28.5 million deal struck by Allen Media Group to buy WCOV-TV in the Montgomery-Selma, AL market from Woods Communications. The sale also includes the low-power stations WIYC and WALE-LD.
December’s deal activity was the strongest since August when 130 announced deals with disclosed transaction values were made. There were 1,275 deals across the media and telecommunications sector overall last year according to S&P Global. The tally shows the biggest growth rate came during the first half of the year, when year-over-year comparisons came against the first half of 2020 when COVID lockdowns brought deal-making to a screeching halt.
S&P Global’s ranker of 2021’s biggest deals did not include any from the broadcast sector, even as the listing includes a mix of acquisitions in the movie, cable, publishing and interactive segments. The biggest telecom deal of 2021 by far was Discovery’s $103.97 billion deal to buy Warner Media. It was followed by Rogers Communications’ $21.28 million deal to buy Shaw Communications. And Amazon’s $10.56 billion deal to buy MGM Holdings. Cox Media Group’s majority owner, Apollo Global Management, made the fourth-biggest deal of 2021, but the $7.5 billion acquisition was in the telecom business, not broadcasting.