A new report from Content Economics Research states that mergers & acquisitions within the UK independent production sector increased in 2009, to the tune of £164 million worth of deals transacted. That’s an increase from 2008′s much lower figure of £76m, but still short of 2007′s £253m+. The report, released on Thursday, states that there were 20 M&A transactions in 2007, but with the credit crunch and resulting recession, those numbers fell to 13 in 2008 and 2009. If the rumored sale of RDF Media to Zodiak Entertainment goes through this year, the report says the figures for 2010 may top those of 2007. The report also points out that factual producers were among the key targets of those with deep pockets in 2009, and of the 13 deals transacted last year, 10 of them involved factual indie producers. The report ties this development to broadcasters’ needs to reduce programming costs, resulting in more factual commissioning.