RECAP: M&A in the Telecom Sector

Just before Telecom Council’s Demopalooza and annual end-of-year party, we held a roundtable discussion on M&A in the Telecom Sector featuring four experts in the field. Our panel was moderated by William Jefferson Black, Managing Director & Publisher of TelecomFinance and Transaction Advisors. The panelists were:

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And we did this discussion in our Unpanel format, where the audience starts by indicating the topics they want to discuss – and did they ever! We got a whiteboard full of questions, but the dominant areas of interest were (ranked highest first):

– IoT prospects and deals
– Wi-Fi businesses
– What’s hot for next year
– Spectrum plays, unlicensed and licensed
– Telcos as content providers
– The connected car
– Transatlantic M&A
– Competition from Cablecos, Facebook, Google, Apple
– Valuations
– Divestitures
– Consolidation

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Our panelist then went into the panel, with William leading the conversation through a number if interesting topics. The panelists not only focused on the top issues from the room, but also brought up a number of “insider only” topics that the audience hadn’t considered. One big take away we can summarize here is that the quantity of available capital to spend has been unusually high for a couple of years, driving up competition for some deals, and thus some valuations. The panelists believe that this “sellers market” is softening, and predict it will weaken in the near future, say the 4-18 month time frame. This is loosely related to the Fed’s recent move to raise interest rates for the first time since 2006. The strategic implication for startups is, if deciding whether to sell your company now, or in a year when you’ve grown it in some important way…maybe go for the sooner transaction.

Telecom Council members can get the attendee list, agenda, and photos in the Member Library.

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