Thursday, April 12, 2018

NEW YORK — April 12, 2018 — Berkery Noyes, an independent mid-market investment bank, today released its Q1 2018 mergers and acquisitions trend report for the Media and Marketing Industry. The report analyzes M&A activity in the Media and Marketing Industry during Q1 2018 and compares it with the past four quarters.

According to Berkery Noyes’ latest research, transaction volume decreased six percent over the past three months. Aggregate value fell 66 percent, from $80.7 billion to $27.5 billion. This was due in major part to The Walt Disney Company’s announced acquisition of 21st Century Fox for $66.1 billion in Q4 2017. Total value gained 32 percent on a year-over-year basis.

The industry’s largest transaction year-to-date was a Blackstone Group led consortium’s announced acquisition of a 55 percent stake in Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk division for $11 billion. Meanwhile, the largest strategic transaction in Q1 2018 was Informa’s announced takeover offer of UBM for $6.2 billion, which will create the world’s most extensive B2B events group. As a result of the merger, Informa’s shareholders will own 65.5 percent of the enlarged company with UBM’s shareholders owning the rest.

M&A activity in the Marketing segment decreased 21 percent on a quarterly basis. Notable segment deals year-to-date included Ocelot Partners’ announced acquisition of Ocean Outdoor, a digital out-of-home advertising company, for $280 million; GoDaddy’s announced acquisition of Main Street Hub, a social media marketing platform, for $125 million (as well as a potential $50 million earnout); and Quad/Graphic’s acquisition of Ivie & Associates, a marketing solutions provider, for $93 million. Quad/Graphics also completed a deal of its own during the quarter with the acquisition of a majority stake in Rise Interactive, a digital marketing agency that specializes in media, analytics, and customer experience.

Total volume in the B2B Publishing and Information segment saw a slight uptick in Q1 2018. Notable B2B related deals in Q1 2017 included the aforementioned Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk division acquisition; West Corporation’s announced acquisition of Nasdaq’s public relations solutions and digital media services businesses for $335 million; and Harper Collins Publishers’ acquisition of AMACOM Books, which primarily focuses on professional growth and business leadership.

Deal activity in the Consumer Publishing segment experienced a minor decline in Q1 2018. The largest Consumer Publishing transaction year-to-date was Tronc’s sale of The Los Angeles Times to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong of Nant Capital for $590 million. This includes the assumption of $90 million in pension liabilities. Another notable segment deal during the quarter was Trinity Mirror’s announced acquisition of the print assets of Northern & Shell Media Network, which includes The Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star, Daily Star Sunday, and celebrity magazines OK!, New!, and Star, for $179 million.

The number of deals in the Entertainment segment stayed declined 11 percent on a quarterly basis. One notable transaction in the segment’s television sector during Q1 2018 included Entertainment Studios’ acquisition of The Weather Channel for $300 million. Regarding the video game sector, first quarter deals included THQ Nordic’s announced acquisition of Koch Media for $148 million; 21st Century Fox’s acquisition of ColdIron Studio; and Ubisoft’s acquisitions of Blue Mammoth Games and 1492 Studio.

Transaction volume in the Internet Media segment increased 25 percent on a quarterly basis. This made it the sector with the largest rise in M&A activity over the past three months. Internet Media also nearly surpassed the Marketing segment as the industry’s most active sector in Q1 2018.

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.

“M&A activity should persist as publishers, advertising agencies, and others continue to adapt by expanding their digital offerings,” said Mary Jo Zandy, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “As the lines between content, marketing and advertising blur, their product depth and breadth will encompass more. All of this has the potential to help fuel deal flow in the foreseeable future.”

A copy of the MEDIA AND MARKETING INDUSTRY M&A REPORT FOR FIRST QUARTER 2018 is available at the Berkery Noyes website.