Design ‘could see private equity boost’ in 2010

Media and communications groups, including design consultancies, could see a boost in private equity backing next year, according to experts.

Accountant and business adviser Grant Thornton UK says this boost could come despite the sector being the least active for private equity over the past 12 months.

Grant Thornton adds that the ‘fragmented’ digital sector could see a particularly high level of activity.

The company’s Private Equity Barometer study shows that 15 per cent of private equity firms ranked media and communications among the top three sectors they anticipated being active in the next 12 months. None of them chose the sector as one in which they had been most active in the previous 12 months.

Mark Henshaw, head of media and entertainment at Grant Thornton, says, ‘There is a sense of confidence that media and communications businesses are beginning to bounce back from the market downturn and may therefore increasingly attract the attention of private equity, particularly in the fragmented digital marketing sector.’

Amanda Merron, a partner at Kingston Smith W1, had previously advised firms seeking funds to link up with private equity if bank loans were hard to come by.

She said that if banks were reluctant to lend, ‘my advice would be to shop around and look at venture capital firms, as this could be a good way of getting funding’.

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