Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 3:04am
WILL 2008 ELECTION SPUR MEDIA DEALS?
[SOURCE: Reuters 7/13, AUTHOR: Megan Davies]
Big media deals and strict regulation don't mix well. But will the fear of potential change in control of the White House in 2008 spur mergers and acquisitions before then? That's the question some Washington watchers and bankers are considering as they look beyond this fall's congressional elections to the next presidential contest. "The regulatory environment is probably as favorable for deals as it is ever going to get -- so companies that are considering deals have to be factoring that in right now," said Paul Gallant, media analyst at Stanford Washington Research Group. Gallant expects that any prospective major media deals will be proposed in the next six to eight months in case the White House is won back by the Democrats. The Democrats are seen by some as more unfriendly to consolidation. Republicans, who control Congress as well as the White House under George W. Bush, have historically been viewed as pro-business, creating favorable tax rules and allowing markets rather than regulators to hash out most competitive issues. Consolidation in the media sector provokes particularly contentious debate, as consumer groups worry that allowing companies to concentrate media properties squeezes out independent voices and reduces local control.
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