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Montgomery & Co. is Go-To Digital Dealmaker

Business Week reports that Montgomery & Co., a little-known investment firm that quickly became one of new media's hottest brokers, is now the one to watch.

Headed by former Walt Disney treasurer Michael Montgomery and his older brother, James, a former defense industry and technology consultant, the firm has helped sell new-media startups to heavyweights Sony, Viacom, and Yahoo! in the past two years.

"Those guys have become the go-to guys after their experience with MySpace," says Blair Harrison, chief executive of iFilm Corp., the user-generated video site that Viacom bought for $49 million shortly after the News Corp. deal. Harrison says he hired Montgomery after he heard of his MySpace work.

As with just about everything else on the Net, a new kid on the block is shaking up the traditional players -- in this case, media investment powerhouses like Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co. Those firms still get plenty of business, but what Montgomery sells is speed -- rare in the clubby media world where talks can drag on for months. He set up meetings with prospective buyers for iFilm within 36 hours, says Harrison, and helped strike a deal within three weeks of that.

"They've taken the right approach," says Atom Entertainment CEO Mika Salmi, who opted not to use an investment banker when he recently sold his video/gaming business to Viacom. "They get in there early and get to know the CEO on a personal level before he needs an investment banker," Salmi says.

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