2006: The Year of M&A?
Just the latest in what appears to be increasing M&A activity, NBC Universal announced that it is buying iVillage (soon to be Women.com) for $600 million. That marks three deals in four days: Fox Interactive Media on Friday, AT&T on Sunday and today NBC.
What it reflects, I believe, is that the Internet’s credibility and centrality to the future of marketing and distribution have been firmly established and the larger traditional media players are starting to wake up to that and are getting scared about being shut out or having to rely exclusively on third-party relationships (e.g., Google, Yahoo!, Apple).
Fox and NBC want to control their fates (as do other major media companies) and position themselves as much stronger competitors going forward. They’re trying to set that up by making acquisitions. What this means to me is that we’re going to see quite a few more acquisitions this year.
By the end of the year, the online world could look quite different from how it does today.
Update: Hearst buys UK consumer health destination NetDoctor. Expect it to launch a US site in the not-too-distant future.