Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Course 4: Mergers and acquisitions in media, telecommunications and ICT markets (09/12 – 11/12)

Two questions are at the core of this course:

Why do media, electronic communication and platform companies buy other companies?
Can they buy whoever they want on the terms they want or are there annoying European and national authorities intervening?

Course 4: Mergers and acquisitions as a business strategy in media markets

For those that are following the full program, course 4 is elective.

You can also join for only this course, Because of Covid-19 we have adapted the format in order to enable distance teaching so that all students, taking travel restrictions or personal quarantines into account, can fully take part. This means that this course will be completely online and consist of three one-hour lectures per day.

Click here for more details on designing your program.

The buying and selling of assets in the media industry is a key feature of today’s media, electronic communications, social network, ICT, retail platforms, etc. sectors. Why is that the case and What is driving this M&A activity? Do we see intensifying M&A activity or is what we observe business as usual? How is an M&A operation working in practice? Can you buy whatever company you want without any interference from government authorities? How has the European Union impacted M&A activity in the media and related sectors? These and other questions are tackled in this course that combines the sometimes-legalistic aspects of M&A activity with its core economic rationale and implementation.

Key Objectives:

  • Understanding the economic characteristics of media and related industries that drive mergers and acquisitions.
  • Provide insight into the evolutions and trends regarding mergers and acquisitions in markets such as media, electronic communications, social media and ICT.
  • Create a better understanding of the underlying motivations of companies to engage in mergers and acquisitions.
  • Give participants a look behind the screens with the ones responsible for mergers and acquisitions strategies within companies explaining how such a strategy is developed and implemented.
  • Immerse participants in the corporate contracts that close the deals between buyers and targets.
  • Inspire participants to develop an M&A strategy with a concrete buyer and target company in mind.

Cases and topics:

  •  Trends regarding M&A in the media industries
  • Features of media ownership and concentration
  • The rationale for M&A activity
  • M&A regulations, including the EU merger regulation, relevant case law in media, electronic communications and platform markets, theories of harm
  •  M&A contracts, including contract law, pitfalls, obstacles, etc.

Target audience:

Anyone with an interest in M&A:

  • from company lawyers
  •  junior and senior management within media, electronic communications and platform companies
  • lobbyists
  • consultants
  • PhD researchers

The course curator

Prof. dr Karen Donders

Karen Donders Since 2015, Karen Donders is employed as a full-time assistant professor at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences of the VUB. As head of SMIT’s Media & Society research program, she supervises approximately 45 business, policy and user researchers that work on mediated communication. Her research activities mainly focus on public service media policies and strategies, private television, the interplay between television and distribution platforms, national and European media policy, and how competition policy affects the media sector. She has been passionate about media policy ever since her classes with now rector Prof. dr Caroline Pauwels, giving up on sleep instead of heated debates on the course contents with her friends.

She is always expanding her knowledge and will jokingly reply “When I’m dead.” on the question when she will ever stop studying. She firmly believes in learning from failures rather than from successes, as the former will provide lessons that the latter cannot.

9 Dec 2021 11 Dec 2021

09:00 - 13:00


Online - via Zoom


  • Wed. 09.30 - 10.40
    Why ownership integration makes sense from a company perspective but can be bad from a competition perspective - Prof. dr. Karen Donders, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Wed. 10.30 - 11.15
    Trends in M&A land - Prof. Dr. Tom Evens, Ghent University
  • Wed. 11.30 - 12.15
    The pro- and anti-competitive effects of Mergers & Acquisitions involving platforms - Ms. Adelaida Affilipoiae, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Thur. 09.30 - 10.15
    The EU Merger Regulation: Jurisdictional and procedural rules - Prof. Dr. Ben Van Rompuy, Leiden University
  • Thur. 10.30 - 11.15
    The EU Merger Regulation: Vertical and horizontal mergers - Prof. Dr. Ben Van Rompuy, Leiden University
  • Thur. 11.30 - 12.15
    EU approach to platform mergers - Ms. Adelaida Affilipoiae, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Fri. 09.30 - 10.15
    Insights from a cable operator - Mr. Paul Mertens, Telenet
  • Fri. 10.30 - 11.15
    Insights from a news company - Mr. Johan Huysmans
  • Fri. 11.30 - 12.15
    Insights from a business law firm - Mr. Filip De Schouwer, Cresco Business Law Firm

Register for event

2 courses: 5% discount
3 courses: 10% discount
4 courses: 15% discount
Register now