AT&T’s pending $ 85.4 billion (not including debt) purchase of Time Warner helped push entertainment deal values into record territory in the fourth quarter, with total transactions worth $125.9 billion in the period, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Total deal volume (194 transactions) was up 34% from Q3, according to PwC, the highest deal volume for the entire year, while values were the highest in two years.
According to PwC, The AT&T-Time Warner deal may be the biggest, but it wasn’t the only mega-deal – defined as those over $1 billion – for the period. PwC counted seven mega-deals, including CenturyLink’ $25.1 billion merger with Level3 Communications and Dalian Wanda Group’s $1 billion purchase of Dick Clark Productions, making up 15% of the quarter’s total deal size.
The cable sector, which rode the wave of Charter Communication’s $80 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable last year, has eight deals valued at $3.9 billion, down from a dozen deals valued at $84.6 billion in the previous period.
While the new Presidential administration could throw a wrench into the AT&T – Time Warner combination – President Trump has been against it in the past but sentiment is high that the deal could pass muster – PwC is confident that more content-distribution deals are on the horizon.
“We would expect content owners to continue to be highly sought after by a cross section of [Entertainment Media Communications] players and those in the Technology sector,” PwC said in its report. “Pairing the right content with unfettered access to distribution channels is being viewed as the way forward.”