For years now, major media and technology deals and mergers have had the same name behind them: Boston-based MediaBridge Capital Advisors, a global investment bank that advises companies on growth, liquidity and more. With a senior team that brings a combined 50-plus years of experience in digital media, technology and investment banking, MediaBridge’s founders alone have advised on more than 50 mergers and acquisitions and private equity financings for leading companies in the media sector.
Ethan Jacks, co-founder and managing partner, and Robert Levy, managing director, spoke with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) about the biggest M&E deals they’ve been involved with, what to expect out of IBC 2019, and how the company makes good on its slogan “Global Reach, Vertical Depth.”
MESA: How did MediaBridge Capital Advisors first come on the scene, what was the impetus for the company?
MBCA: MediaBridge was founded in 2012 by two media technology veterans, Ethan Jacks and John Bowen. Ethan ran M&A at Avid from ’99 to ’06, closing 15 acquisitions which helped grow Avid’s revenue to $1 billion and market cap to $2.5 billion. John has been on Wall Street and investment banking for 20 years, focused on the M&E sector, and a leading voice on the transition of the industry from legacy products to IP and cloud driven solutions. We felt the growing media technology market would benefit from a purpose-built, boutique investment bank specializing in M&A and Corporate Finance.
MESA: A slew of Avid acquisitions, ON2 Technologies acquired by Google, most recently FilmTrack acquired by City National Bank … MediaBridge Capital Advisors has been behind some major moves in the media and technology sectors. Which ones stand out the most for you, and why?
MBCA: We are grateful for the opportunity to handle M&A transactions on behalf of many game-changing companies. Deals that stand out include the sale of wireless video pioneer Teradek to Vitec, the private equity investment in workflow networking innovator Sohonet, and our recent sale of Hollywood’s leading SaaS rights management firm FilmTrack to City National Bank. These and other deals have helped redefine how our industry does business.
MESA: MediaBridge keeps a close eye on the most recent trends in the media and technology marketplace. What do you expect to see highlighted out of this year’s IBC show?
MBCA: Certainly this IBC Show will highlight the proliferation of subscription-based streaming services by all of the premiere content owners and distributors, which is a tectonic change in the delivery of content to consumers, both from a programming and pricing standpoint. These new services are driven by massive technology innovation, including cloud-based computing, user data collection and analysis, and mobile device-based delivery and consumption. We look for the “FAANG” companies to have increased visibility at IBC.
MESA: How crucial is your team’s expertise in these industries when it comes to MediaBridge’s success, how does past experience in media and technology translate into getting these deals done?
MBCA: We believe the collective expertise of our team (including audio veteran Courtney Spencer and Hollywood media services expert Rob Levy) is unrivaled in the industry. Our slogan is “Global Reach, Vertical Depth” By that we mean we can handle complex transactions on a worldwide basis and deliver outstanding results for our client companies. We are successful because we know who the industry “change agents” are, and their priorities and requirements. We know how to manage and drive a transaction process to maximize the value of our clients and find the best new partner/owner for their business.
MESA: How often does MediaBridge see its consultancy services come into play, where your company is tasked with assessing a firm’s viability, value and more?
MBCA: We are seeing more of those engagements, especially where the client is not sure if they are ready for a strategic or capital transaction. In those cases we will work on a consulting basis for to help analyze the client’s business, make operating or structural recommendations, and help maximize the prospective value of the business.
MESA: What’s next for MediaBridge Capital Advisors, what advances and offerings can we expect from you next?
MBCA: Our goal is to be the leading advisor for middle market companies in the M&E sector pursuing a capital or strategic transaction. We will continue to grow our internal resources from both a geographic and domain expertise standpoint. We look forward to being an active participant in MESA and sharing our perspectives with member companies and the industry more generally.