December 9, 2005
Major Shakeups for VNU and DreamWorks?

Today's Wall Street Journal published two potential major stories that are developing for 2006--the potential change in ownership for both DreamWorks.

Henry Sender reports that Dutch company VNU, the media powerhouse that owns Nielsen Media Research, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Editor and Publisher, AdWeek, MediaWeek and BrandWeek, among other properties, is currently under consideration for buyout by two separate consortiums of international buyers.

Because of some recent frustration in company performance, some feel this will at least be the most successful attempt at a buyout in VNU's history.

Several of us from the consortium recently participated in VNU's "The Next Big Idea" conference in NYC. Seeing the power that VNU holds in the media industry through its various partners, it's still unclear as to what effect a buyout might have on the media industry as a whole. I'm sure, though, that everyone will have their eye on what's happening here as we enter 2006.

On the same page in today's WSJ, Merissa Marr reports that Viacom's Paramount Pictures is preparing to make a bid to buy DreamWorks, competing with General Electric's NBC Universal. DreamWorks, of course, is Steven Spielberg's company and has been part of many major films over the past several years.

What do you think are the implications if VNU is bought out or DreamWorks becomes part of yet another major media conglomerate, whether it joins the NBC camp or the Viacom camp?


On December 15, 2005 at 9:56 AM, Sam Ford said:

As everyone probably knows by now, the selling of DreamWorks SKG has gone through, with Viacom swooping in to outbid General Electric, especially since GE had been so slow-to-move on the deal.

What does this mean for the industry? Spielberg is an anomaly, of course, but some people are still surprised that such a small studio--only 11 years old with only about 60 titles in its film library00would go for a very high selling price, a price which accounts for GE's hesitancy that allowed Viacom to sneak in and make a deal.Monday's Wall Street Journal had a tremendous article covering many aspects of the deal.

But what remains to be seen is what effect this might have on the entertainment industry as yet another conglomeration takes place.

On December 15, 2005 at 11:57 AM, Sam Ford said:

In another interesting piece of news on major corporate restructuring, Steve Case, who is a large shareholder in Time-Warner, is calling heavily for a restructuring of the conglomerate, dividing it into four separate divisions--AOL, Time Inc., Time Warner Cable, and Time Warner Entertainment.

For more information, see Case's guest article in Sunday's Washington Post.

On December 18, 2005 at 11:33 AM, Sam Ford said:

In "The Deal Report" in this week's Entertainment Weekly, Dade Hayes provides some interesting commentary about what will happen once DreamWorks officially joins Paramount. Paramount's Rob Moore is quoted as saying he wants to "give Spielberg and Geffen a stable home where they can make quality movies."