Friday, April 20, 2018

NEW YORK — April 20, 2018 — Berkery Noyes, an independent mid-market investment bank, today released its Q1 2018 mergers and acquisitions trend report for the Information Industry.

The Information report features companies in the Media & Marketing, Software, and Online & Mobile Industries. It analyzes M&A activity during Q1 2018 and compares it with the past four quarters.

According to Berkery Noyes’ latest data, transaction volume in the Information Industry decreased ten percent over the past three months. Deal value fell 42 percent, from $111.4 billion to $64.8 billion. This followed a 78 percent increase in Q4 2017, which was due in major part to The Walt Disney Company’s announced acquisition of 21st Century Fox for $66.1 billion. The industry’s largest transaction in Q1 2018 was a Blackstone Group led consortium’s announced acquisition of a 55 percent stake in Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk division for $11 billion.

The median revenue multiple moved downward from 2.1x to 1.8x, while the median EBITDA multiple remained nearly constant at 10.8x. Disclosed median enterprise value multiples throughout the five quarters covered in the report were 2.0x revenue and 10.4x EBITDA.

Eight of the Information Industry’s top ten largest deals in Q1 2018 were completed by strategic acquirers. These eight deals, with a combined value of $27.6 billion, represented 43 percent of the industry’s aggregate value year-to-date.

Regarding the Software horizontal market, M&A activity decreased eight percent in Q1 2018. Transaction volume in the Infrastructure segment underwent a 43 percent increase, which was the horizontal’s largest sector gain. The highest value security related transaction during the quarter was LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ announced acquisition of ThreatMetrix, which provides cloud-based fraud prevention solutions, for $804 million. Other notable deals in the security sector year-to-date included Splunk’s announced acquisition of Phantom, a security automation and orchestration platform, for $350 million; and Palo Alto Networks’ announced acquisition of Evident.io, which offers a software platform for enterprise security management, for $300 million.

“The M&A industry itself is being impacted by new attention to cybersecurity,” said Martin Magida, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “As a matter of course, acquirers conduct due diligence to identify and quantify the risk when buying a company. Historically, this usually centered around legal liabilities, environmental hazards, competitive threats and financial reporting.” Magida continued, “In today’s environment, buyers are increasingly examining their target’s technology, practices and internal policies with respect to cybersecurity by studying the target’s history of attacks, potential data breaches, insider threat activity and ongoing security exploits.”

In the Online & Mobile horizontal, volume saw a 12 percent quarterly decrease. The E-Content segment experienced a 33 percent gain, which marked a return to its Q3 2017 level. This made it the sector with the horizontal’s largest rise in volume. Apple was a notable segment acquirer with the announced acquisition of Texture, a digital magazine platform that is sometimes referred to as the “Nextflix of Magazines.”

As for the Media & Marketing horizontal, volume declined six percent in Q1 2018. Deal flow in the Internet Media segment rose 25 percent on a quarterly basis, which was the horizontal’s most improved sector during the quarter. Notable Internet Media transactions during the quarter included Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries’ announced acquisition of digital music streaming service Saavn for $104 million, and the subsequent merger of Saavn with JioMusic, which is now valued at over $1 billion; Penske Media Corporation’s acquisition of SheKnows Media, a women’s lifestyle digital media company; Google’s sale of Zagat, a restaurant review service, to recommendation platform The Infatuation for an undisclosed amount (note that Google acquired Zagat for $151 million in 2011); and Seven West Media’s sale of its 50 percent stake in Yahoo!7 to Verizon subsidiary Oath.

A copy of the INFORMATION INDUSTRY REPORT FOR FIRST QUARTER 2018 is available at the Berkery Noyes website.