So two more mondo media deals are simmering: Reuters said it has had an offer; there’s speculation that Thomson is the suitor and even speculation about Google (but I don’t see them buying a content business). And Yahoo and Microsoft — whose media strategies have both tripped and stumbled in the race with Google — say they’re thinking about lashing up or possibly merging again.
Now’s the time to jump. Murdoch’s bid for Dow Jones raises depressed media prices and a bidding war for one company or another could raise them further. So if there’s a strategic prize to get, it’s time to go courting. I don’t think we’ll see any overall buying binge in media; too much of the sector is just too troubled. But I do think we’ll see smart strategic combinations. Dow Jones and Reuters both have competence and brands in data and this is the age of data. In the right combinations, they become more valuable.
As for the Yahoo/Microsoft combination, I see that as Yahoo trying to surrender and go hide under Gates’ skirt. In some ways, it’s like Time Warner being bought by AOL; I said at the time it was their admission they didn’t have an internet strategy so it went to buy — or be bought by — one. I don’t see what Microsoft bring to Yahoo or vice versa in strategic terms. Oh, there’ll be lots of chatter about synergy but I wouldn’t bet my lunch money on it.