Good chatter and predictions coming out of the M&A panel at the McGraw-Hill Media Summit:
The Sirius (SIRI)-XM (XMSR) merger will fail.
Herb Granath, chairman and CEO of blank-check investment group MEHI: The merger won’t pass muster, “based on the length of time” the DOJ and FCC have spent deliberating. “I wouldn’t like to be in [Sirius CEO] Mel Karmazin’s shoes.”
Robert Raciti, SVP GE’s Media and Entertainment: “There’s a reason there are two [satellite] licenses. It’s not about the folks in NYC who can get hundreds of channels. It’s the rural areas that have very limited choice.”
Santo Politi, co-founder, Spark Capital: “The more interesting thing is how much the government cares about two such bad businesses.”
The New York Times Co. will go private.
Politi: “Privatizing has a lot of benefits. If you need to overhaul systems it’s a lot easier to do it privately than do it publicly. They can go into a dark tunnel and as long as they come out the other side it doesn’t matter.”
Granath: “One thing they have to do is cut overhead which means cutting reporters, which is only going to antagonize their readers. In order to satisfy their business problem they are going to have to take a hit to their journalism.”
Liberty Media’s John Malone scales the media heap one more time.
Granath: ” John Malone is going to come out of his cave and become a lot more aggressive in media. I see him in Europe being very aggressive buying properties and I think John is one more time going to claim the king of the hill title.”
Likely acquisitions in the coming year:
Politi: Comcast (CMCSA) buys Sprint (S).
Isaac Palmer, managing director, Fortress Investment Group: Lionsgate merges with MGM.