The Herb Allen Party

Having just returned from several blissful days completely – and I mean, completely – off the grid, perhaps for the first time in a decade, I picked up the press today and see two stories talking about how nothing will be happening at the annual Herb Allen media chowdown in Sun Valley this week. 

It’s funny how two people can look at the same data set and come up with opposite conclusions.

While the authors gave market confusion, slowing growth rates, and increased pressure for ad revenues as the reasons for the projected deal slowdown, I expect the same reasons will drive interest in new business combinations.  TimeWarner seems to be without a rudder, all large newspapers are running out of time, those media players trying to make the jump from print to online are having revenue replacement headaches, and no one has any agreed-upon cures. 

The result ought to be a series of acquisitions and combinations, as some fail, some work together on capital-intensive advertising strategies, and some try to consolidate newly-visioned online market niches.

Want to buy AOL?  Yahoo?  RoadRunner?  Or any major newspaper?  How about a slightly dingy national TV network?  Even the nation’s top radio holding company is sucking wind.

This is exactly when the swift get going, and the smart kids make real money.  No deals?  ha.  Give it three months, and let’s see what the real outcome was.