July 7, 2020 by Peter Hansen

COVID-19 is a major disruption to almost every aspect of business, stopping or slowing countless processes. What about mergers and acquisitions? “Absolutely still happening,” according to Mark Boidman, Managing Director and Head of Media & Tech Services at PJ Solomon. As Boidman sees it, COVID-19 means changes, and changes mean opportunities.

PJ Solomon is a financial firm that specializes in assisting businesses through all parts of the M&A process, both on the buying side and selling side. They have three industries they focus on, one of which is pro AV.

Boidman shares PJ Solomon’s views on a few aspects of pro AV during the pandemic, including expectations for the recovery and notes digital signage is an important piece of the puzzle for businesses seeking to operate during COVID-19. He specifically highlights the value of signage for communication, including social distancing guidelines, altered store hours, and emergency messaging. He also mentions the role of digital signage in temperature monitoring to try to help keep spaces safe from sick people.

PJ Solomon is bullish on out of home advertising. According to Boidman, one of the consequences of the internet is that there are fewer places where companies can advertise and reach millions of eyes at the same time. This issue is accentuated by the dearth of liveports right now. What outcome do they anticipate? Increased value of out of home advertising.

Out of home advertising may seem silly if everyone is staying inside due to quarantine, but Boidman expects with the virus threat and social distancing guidelines easing, businesses can anticipate the release of pent-up demand as people go out and do all the things they avoided during the worst of the crisis.

Boidman does sound a note of caution on total advertising spending. Based on trends from previous crises, he projects a decline on advertising spending of 20 percent in 2020, with full recovery not happening until late 2021 or 2022.

One of Boidman’s final points is that the AV industry is fragmented and has a lot of space for consolidation. Last year, AVIXA leveraged its network of AV insiders to understand how M&A is playing out in our industry. To an extent, AVIXA’s data supports Boidman’s assertion: The AV market is unconcentrated, and end user preferences suggest space for larger players.

But at the same time, the data also suggests that end users value traits where small businesses can excel, including customer service and customization. End users sometimes turn down potential AV contractors because they think the business is too large. Our bottom line is that smart businesses will continue to find success in pro AV, regardless of size. For more detail, you can check out AVIXA’s Macroeconomic Trends Analysis report on market concentration trends.

With all the change happening, there are new opportunities for companies to form new partnerships and meet new market needs.

Watch the full session: AV Valuation, M&A and Market Update 

PJ Solomon's InfoComm Connected Presentation | AVIXA PJ Solomon's InfoComm Connected Presentation

About Peter Hansen

As AVIXA’s Economic Analyst, Peter Hansen’s job is to understand how the professional AV sector interacts with the wider economy.  Peter relishes the challenge of this task, to which he brings a data-focused skillset and a passion for critical analysis.  In the past, he has worked for the Federal Reserve Board and been published in RealClearMarkets, Finance and Economics Discussion Series, and The Atlantic.