Deal volume among U.S. and Canadian media and telecommunications companies in January reached its highest level in eight months, but the 120 deal announcements still represented a year-over-year decline, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Prior to January 2020, the most recent high point for deal volume in the two sectors was in May 2019, with 121 deals announced.
While most of the January deal announcements were valued at well under $1 billion, a bidding war for fiber-optic network provider Cincinnati Bell Inc. led to values that rivaled some of the biggest sector deals of 2019. The most recent offer to acquire Cincinnati Bell Inc., by an undisclosed infrastructure fund, was valued at $2.73 billion, up from a $2.66 billion offer made by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP in December 2019. The January bid came from Macquarie Group Ltd., Bloomberg News reported.
Cincinnati Bell reiterated its commitment to the Brookfield transaction after receiving the unsolicited rival offer.
Morgan Stanley and Moelis & Co. are advising Cincinnati Bell on its sale process. In SEC filings concerning the Brookfield offer, Cincinnati Bell disclosed Morgan Stanley's fee of $25.0 million, about $20.0 million of which is contingent on the closing of the sale. Moelis' fees amount to $15.9 million, with about $13.9 million to be delivered upon closing.