Deal volume among U.S. and Canadian media and telecom companies plunged 38% year over year in October, marking the sector's lowest monthly total in 2022, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
There were 114 deals struck in October, compared to 184 transactions during the same month in 2021. Total M&A deal volume was also down on a sequential basis, decreasing by 12.3% from 130 transactions in September.
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KIRKBI A/S acquisition of FWD Media Inc. for $875 million was the biggest deal for the sector in October. Lazard Freres & Co. LLC served as financial adviser to Kirkbi for the transaction.
The second-largest deal announcement in October was Brainium Studios LLC's acquisition by PLAYSTUDIOS Inc.'s unit Playstudios Us LLC for $97.3 million. Playstudios paid $70 million in upfront cash and the remaining $27.3 million is subject to Brainium's performance from the closing of the deal through Dec. 31. The companies did not disclose any financial advisers or associated advisory fees.
With none of the transactions announced in October topping the $1-billion mark, none ranked among the top 10 media and telecom deals of the year. The largest sector deal in 2022 remains Microsoft Corp.'s pending purchase of Activision Blizzard Inc. for $79.59 billion.
The Activision deal has won regulatory approval from some countries, like Brazil, but remains under review in other regions, including the U.K. and the European Union. European regulators on Nov. 8 opened an "in-depth investigation" into the deal, saying, "The Commission's preliminary investigation shows that the transaction may significantly reduce competition on the markets for the distribution of console and PC video games, including multi-game subscription services and/or cloud game streaming services, and for PC operating systems."
Despite the investigation, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told employees on Nov. 8 that he remains confident the deal will close before the end of June 2023.