Media Executives On Market Crisis: M&A Outlook Bleak

10/17/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Three out of three moguls agree: The implosion of Wall Street is going to be not so good for anyone hoping to get a big media deal done.

NBC Universal's Jeff Zucker, Sirius Satellite Radio's Mel Karmazin and Quadrangle's Steven Rattner were the panelists at a breakfast discussion this morning hosted by Portfolio, and while they differed on subjects ranging from whether we're in an ad recession already to whether Barry Diller should have broken up his company, they all sounded similar notes on the morning's chief topic, the outlook for mergers and acquisitions.

"It's been an incredibly slow year for media M&A landscape and I think what's happened in the last few days is simply going to exacerbate that," said Rattner. "Big deals today are not going to happen. They're simply not going to happen."

"I think what's going to happen is sellers' expectations are going to have to go down," said Karmazin. "Banks will be willing to lend, but lend very conservatively, and there will be people out there in equity who are interested in buying, but not buying at the kind of multiples that the sellers are expecting."

Zucker found a silver lining. "The deals that don't get done probably shouldn't get done, you know?" he said. "Maybe there's some rationality that's now in the marketplace that's driven by external circumstances, but that's not necessarily a bad thing."

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