Recently, along with my partner David Lamb at STM Advisers, I participated in a Webinar sponsored by NISO. The topic was consolidation in the world of academic and library publishing. We covered some of the basic elements of consolidation (why it happens, trends, and who drives it) and provided a primer on mergers and acquisitions. It is our view that the pace of new deals is picking up for a number of reasons, some having to do with the macroeconomic environment (the Trump administration seems unlikely to pursue antitrust cases), the sheer amount of cash in investors’ hands waiting to be put to work, and the maturity of academic publishing, which makes established companies seek to combine in order to enlarge their market share and increase their clout in the marketplace.
We also touched on venture capital and start-ups, which are a different kettle of fish from the consolidation we see among the larger companies. Start-ups seek to do something new (and occasionally they succeed), whereas established companies seek to make more money doing what they have done before, but in a bigger way.
We expect to see more start-ups in the future, as new technology spawns so many ideas. Meanwhile, the consolidation among the bigger companies will continue, and will sometimes involve the acquisition of some of those start-ups.
I have uploaded the slides from the presentation, which you can access here:
We would be happy to answer any questions in the comments to this post.