The merger announcement by Time Warner and AOL initiated a ’frenzy
of excited guesses about the next nuptials’ (Daily Telegraph 15/1), with
no fewer than 140 different companies being mooted.
Top of the list was Yahoo, closely followed by Disney and Pearson.
Alpesh Patel nominated a record 31 ’companies to watch closely’ (FT
15/1). A significant number of journalists mentioned EMI as a potential
candidate before its own announcement: astute predictions or good
Among the media correspondents, 55 per cent felt that further mergers
were ’very unlikely’, suggesting a wholesale shift in the media
landscape with clear implications for companies, consumers and PR
agencies. The combination of media and content providers also prompted
much discussion about the financial engineering of dot.com companies,
suggestion that ’blue sky’ valuations could be turned into real money.
The best comment on this theme: ’will it turn real money into funny
money, or is the deal a bit like attaching a lead weight to a helium
balloon?’ (Sunday Times, 16/1).
Cuttings by Durrants.
Analysis and commentary byEcho Research. More information can be found