Ascent Media’s $1.2 billion purchase of security monitoring company Monitronics International last month ranked as 2010’s largest acquisition of a venture-backed company by value.
Dow Jones VentureSource rankings issued Monday put Douglas County-based Ascent Media Corp.’s acquisition atop the list for a year in which U.S. merger and acquisition volume rose 17 percent compared to 2009.
Overall in 2010, 445 M&A deals from venture-backed companies reached $33.9 billion in value. In 2009, Dow Jones counted 381 exits that raised $20.8 billion.
"After holding back on acquisitions the last couple of years, corporations found themselves with a significant amount of cash on hand and the need to make strategic acquisitions to maintain a competitive edge,” said Scott Austin, editor of Dow Jones VentureWire, in a press release. "Combined with rising valuations that made investors and entrepreneurs more inclined to sell, M&A picked up — a trend likely to continue into 2011.”
Ascent Media’s deal transforms the company.
Prior to buying Dallas-based Monitronics, Ascent Media (NASDAQ: ASCMA) primarily handled digital video production and distribution services for Hollywood studios.
That business has been battered by the recession. Ascent’s revenue declined by $29 million, or 8.6 percent, to $307 million during the first nine months of 2010.
It sold or announced the sale of divisions in media services last month.
On Friday, Ascent Media completed the sale of its Creative Services and Media Services units to Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc., a deal valued at $68 million.
In early December, Ascent announced a deal to sell its content distribution business to Encompass Digital Media Inc. for $113 million after the assumption of debt and other obligations totaling $7 million. The deal is expected to close early in 2011.
After that closes, Ascent’s primary business will be Monitronics.
It’s the second-largest residential home security business in the United States with more than 650,000 homeowners nationwide paying a monthly fee for services.
Media business billionaire John Malone is a board member and major shareholder of Ascent Media Corp. Ascent Media spun off of Discovery Communications and became an independent company in 2008.