Digiday+ Member Article

People will say all kinds of things to get what they want, whether it’s a kid hoping for a new toy or a company angling to do a deal. During the merger process, acquirer and acquiree make promises they won’t keep and claims they hope the other won’t try to corroborate. “If it’s not in the contract, it’s not real,” says one media executive who has gone through the M&A wringer. Here are the 10 things buyers and sellers all say — and what they really mean, according to four veterans of media M&A.

Media consolidation has ballooned, with older media companies racing to stay ahead and younger ones trying to stay afloat. In the first half of 2018, the amount of money going toward media mergers and acquisitions soared by 440 percent year over year to $323 billion, per Thomson Reuters. Consolidation begets more consolidation. That pressure to get deals done can push acquirer and acquiree to make promises they won’t keep and claims they hope the other won’t try to corroborate. “If it’s not in the contract, it’s not real,” says one media executive who has gone through the M&A wringer. Here are the 10 things buyers and sellers all say — and what they really mean, according to four veterans of media M&A.

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