2020 Key Highlights

The most active acquirer in 2020 either directly or through an affiliated business was Embracer Group, a video game holding company based in Sweden, with 22 transactions.

The largest Consumer Publishing deal in 2020 was Penguin Random House’s announced acquisition of Simon & Schuster from ViacomCBS for $2.12 billion.

There were 180 financially sponsored transactions with an aggregate value of $26.82 billion, representing 15 percent of the total volume and 33 percent of the total value, respectively.

2020 Key Trends

Total transaction volume in 2020 decreased by 23 percent over 2019, from 1,577 to 1,211. On a half year basis, M&A activity declined ten percent in 2nd Half 2020 over 1st Half 2020, from 637 to 574.

Total transaction value in 2020 fell by 37 percent over 2019, from $128.19 billion to $81.28 billion. On a half year basis, M&A value more than doubled in 2nd Half 2020 over 1st Half 2020, from $24 billion to $57.28 billion.

The median revenue multiple moved upward from 2.3x in 2019 to 2.5x in 2020. The median EBITDA multiple improved from 8.3x in 2019 to 10.3x in 2019, nearly returning to its 2018 level.

M&A activity in the Entertainment Content segment saw a slight uptick for the third consecutive year. The video game subsector experienced a 34 percent yearly increase, from 114 to 153 deals.

M&A Market Overview

Berkery Noyes tracked 4,464 Media & Marketing transactions between 2018 and 2020, of which 834 disclosed financial terms, and calculated the aggregate value to be $256.05 billion. Based on known transaction values, we project values of 3,630 undisclosed transactions to be $62.56 billion, totaling $318.61 billion worth of transactions tracked over the past three years.

Disclosed median enterprise value multiples for all segments combined in this report during the last 36 months were 2.2x revenue and 10.1x EBITDA.