OLD Media Moves

10 years of reporting on deals

September 24, 2009

Robert Teitelman, the editor of The Deal, writes about reporting on mergers and acquisitions for the past decade as part of the publication’s 10-year anniversary.

Teitelman writes, “In 1999 the tech mags were fatter than phone books; now they’ve gone the way of Bear, and business mags and newspapers dance on the edge of the abyss. On the other hand, our style of deal reporting has popped up in everything from The New York Times’ DealBook to a myriad of specialized Web sites. The Internet, despite more twists than a soap opera, is a big deal: Our daily paper (actually twice a day) is now electronic; we have a fast-growing online aggregation product, Deal Pipeline; and our original bare-bones Web site, Thedeal.com, has grown up and donned long pants, containing everything from video to blogs to The Deal magazine — still in print!

“There were two unsettling critiques of our little scheme in fizzy 1999. The first was execution. How could you yahoos report what you claim readers want and need? This stuff is complicated. We’re smart; you’re not. Well, we did: From Deal Memos to deal structures to scoops to increasingly sophisticated analysis, though it wasn’t necessarily fast or ever easy. Second, and more important, was conceptual. Who cared? How rich was this dealmaking vein? Why would buyout mavens want to read the same stuff as venture capitalists or investment bankers? And what made you think you’d have anything to report when the economic temperature plunged and dealmaking flat-lined?

“Today, some of these objections seem silly, even anachronistic, which helps explain why we’re still here. There is a commonality of interests among our constituents, even if they didn’t always recognize it; it really was an information-hungry community that extended across far-flung functional and geographic areas. Dealmaking was the common thread; it’s how everyone got paid.”

Read more here.

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