AFTER WHAT SEEMED LIKE A LONG HIATUS IN THE wake of the overall economic meltdown of2008, the deal market has been revitalized. Major transactions--like the $37.5 billion NBCUniversal joint venture between Comcast and General Electric (which closed in January) to Time Warner Cable's agreement in December to acquire Insight Communications' 700,000 subscribers in the Midwest for $3 billion--characterized 2011. In between were smaller deals, like Sudden link Communications' $350 million purchase of NPG Cable and New Wave Communications' sale of 70,000 subscribers to Time Warner Cable for $260 million.
The total completed and disclosed deal value increased to $52 billion in 2011 from $27 billion in 2010, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers. While the bulk of that increase was due to the Comecast-NBCUniversal Ideal, PwCestimated that excluding Comcast/NBCU, the average deal value rose 25% to $160 million in 2011 from $128 million in 2010. All this on fewer deals--801 in 2010 versus 687 in 2011, according to PwC.
In many ways, there hasn't been a better time in recent memory to tap the financial markets.
But having access to capital and actually getting money are two different things. For most in the cable industry, the best (and sometimes the only) way to tap into that cash is through an intermediary.
With that in mind, Multichannel News has compiled our2012MoneyAll-Stars,alistofsome Of the top investment bankers, private-equity players and financial advisers in the cable space.
This list is by no means comprehensive--to tally all die noteworthy financial players in the space would literally require volumes. But the men and women on this list represent a crosssection of financial executives on the leading edge of cable finance for both large cable companies and smaller midsize operators. Care was taken to give adequate representation to the banking, private-equity and advisory sides of the table, and deals brokered, engineered and represented by the executives listed run the gamut from large-cap media giants like Comcast and NBCU to small-market operators like Harron Communications,
While transactions have been, gaining steam, most of the players believe more opportunities are on the horizon, especially as past investments at some private-equity concerns approach maturity.
UBS vice chairman and head of investment banking Aryeh Bourkoff, who has had a hand in practically every major cable deal for the past fewyears, was encouraged by cable's strength in tough economic times, but expects the major MSOs to take it slow on the M&Afrontin2012,
"We would expect most of the major MSOs to be more operationally driven in 2012 vs. deal-oriented," Bourkoff said. "The mid-market cable companies are where the deals will be focused."
But whatever the climate, chances are that any cable operator looking to buy, sell or raise money in the near future will run into at least one of the executives on the following pages. And with that, here are Multichannel News' 2012 Money All-Stars.
Title: President, Waller Capital Partners
Background: Baker is a former investment banker at Bear Stearns, joining Waller Capital Partners in 1998. An avid dealmaker--he initiates and leads cable and wireless M&A activity in investment banking at Waller--Baker was named a partner at the firm in 2005 and was named president in 2009. He leads all of the firm's cable M&A activity and also oversees its day-to-day operations. During his career, he has completed more than 60 M&A transactions valued at more than $15 billion.
Notable Deals: Recent cable M&A transactions include representing RCN on its sale to ABRY Partners; US Cable on its sale to Midcontinent, Baja and Charter …