Bertelsmann’s BMG Music Rights has continued to expand by agreeing to a deal to manage the song catalogs of Fuji Entertainment America’s ARC Music, Six Palms Music and Third Story catalogs in a worldwide deal everywhere outside of Japan and South East Asia.
Just about everyone who covers media is talking about whether a potential Comcast-GE deal for NBC Universal will kick off a round of consolidation in media.******One executive — one very smart executive — who doesn’t think we’re in for a tidal wave of mergers is Viacom’s Philippe Dauman. (Word is Dauman earned a perfect score on the SAT — at the age of 13). After a speech at Executives’ Club of Chicago on Tuesday, we asked Dauman about consolidation.******”As far as we’re concerned, we ‘re focused on growing our brands, growing our business. We have tremendous brands with a lot of room for growth both in the U.S. and internationally. It’s a big opportunity for us.******”We’ve been involved involved in a lot of consolidation in our corporate history. The record of success in media consolidation has not been all that great for the most part so for ourselves we think the better strategy is to grow organically.”******But what does Dauman think about about the rest of the industry? To that question, he noted that “all of us in the traditional media business have seen the pitfalls” of big mergers, but Comcast may decide to chase a deal because of its unique circumstances. He didn’t elaborate, but we all know that Comcast has longed for more content for quite some time. The structure of the deal reportedly under consideration may work in Comcast’s favor since it doesn’t have to issue any equity.******Dauman isn’t the only smart guy in the media industry of course. Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes made similar though slightly more cutting comments about the prospect of the Comcast-NBC deal last week and about what it said about success of previous big media mergers.******Dauman was more diplomatic.******”There’s a unique set of circumstances here that won’t necessarily in and of itself trigger a wave of other activity,” Dauman said.
I was rather surprised yesterday to see an e-mail from Ogilvy PR pitching an interview with Dave Booth, the Chairman President of Global Sales and Marketing at Computer Sciences Corp, only a couple of hours after Xerox announced its $6.4 billion planned purchase of Affiliated Computer Services.
The U.S. computer services industry is back in favor, after a decade of struggling to cut costs and compete with offshore firms from India and elsewhere. At least that would be the obvious conclusion to draw from a recent string of multibillion-dollar deals.
Former state-owned telecoms incumbents with their reliable cash streams from millions of customers have an enviable position in these turbulent economic times. But don’t think that means they can kick back and catch up on their sunbathing, says France Telecom‘s finance chief Gervais Pellissier. Nor do they have time to explore unlikely mergers and acquisitions, like last year’s $40 billion hostile and ultimately failed bid for Nordic telco group TeliaSonera. This year at France Telecom, owner of the Orange brand, it’s all hands on deck for management to steer the great ship through the crisis. “Even on an aircraft carrier, when the sea is very big, I think everybody works,” Pellissier told the Reuters Global Technology Summit in Paris. “When the sea is calm in the Mediterranean in the middle of summer, half of the team can tan on the sun deck,” he said. I don’t say this is what we did in 2008… but let’s say we could dedicate some time to such an operation last year that we cannot dedicate this year — it’s impossible.”