Half of Media Executives Want an Acquisition Within a Year: Survey

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A new report says confidence in the global market is way up among media and entertainment C-suitors.

This story first appeared in the June 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Media and entertainment executives are so bullish on their industry that half are itching to make an acquisition during the next 12 months, according to a new report from EY (formerly Ernst & Young). The research firm surveyed 70 M&E execs on a range of issues, including mergers. In 2013, only 23 percent of the executives said they'd pursue an acquisition within 12 months; in 2014, the figure had climbed to 40 percent. Now it's 50 percent, and among those, 89 percent are looking at foreign companies.

But while confidence in the global economy has climbed, execs say the dominant topic in boardrooms is reducing costs and boosting margins. Acquisitions is the No. 2 item, followed by discussions about fluctuating commodity prices, returning cash to shareholders and strategic divestments. Shareholder activism warrants practically no attention. Says Tom Connolly of EY's M&E transaction advisory services, "After years of contraction and stagnation, there is increasing confidence that economic stability is here to stay."