NEW YORK — January 13, 2016 — Berkery Noyes, an independent mid-market investment bank, today released its full year 2015 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 2015 and compares it with data covering 2013 and 2014.
According to Berkery Noyes’ latest research there was a nine percent increase in deal volume. Total value in the Information Industry gained 49 percent on a year-to-year basis, from $230.81 billion to $342.78 billion. This rise in value was attributable in large part to Dell’s announced acquisition of EMC Corporation for $67.48 billion, which was the highest value deal ever recorded in the industry. The EMC deal accounted for about one-fifth percent of the Information Industry’s aggregate value during the year. Without this transaction, overall value rose 19 percent.
The industry’s median revenue multiple declined from 2.3x in 2014 to 2.1x in 2015, while the median EBITDA multiple decreased from 11.5x to 10.7x. Deals in the $10-$20 million range over the past three years received a median enterprise value multiple of 2.1x revenue, whereas those above $160 million had a median enterprise value multiple of 3.3x revenue.
One notable trend in 2015 was non-tech companies looking to acquire information and tech businesses. Examples with deal values above $1 billion were car manufacturers BMW Group, Audi Group, and Mercedes-Benz with the acquisition of HERE, a digital mapping and location intelligence business, for $3.1 billion; and defense contractor Raytheon with the acquisition of Websense, a cyber-security firm, for $1.9 billion.
Meanwhile, transactions highlighting this trend with deal values below $1 billion included audio and infotainment manufacturer Harmon International, which serves several markets such as the automotive sector, with the acquisition of Symphony Teleca, a software engineering and integration service, for $548 million and Red Bend Software, a provider of software management for connected devices, for $170 million; and aircraft manufacturer Boeing with the acquisition of Peters Software, a provider of aviation training content for commercial and private pilots, as well as 2d3 Sensing, an imagery software company that processes critical intelligence and surveillance data.
Regarding the three horizontal markets in the report, volume in the Media & Marketing portion of the Information Industry improved eight percent over the past year. Transaction value in the horizontal’s B2B Publishing and Information segment more than doubled, from $9.38 billion to $23.01 billion. B2B was also the best represented Media segment with five of the top ten highest value deals in the horizontal.
As for the Software horizontal, deal activity rose nine percent in 2015. This included a 19 percent gain in the Infrastructure segment. In terms of specific buyers, the most active Infrastructure acquirer during the year was IBM with six transactions. This consisted of Gravitant, a developer of hybrid cloud brokerage software; CleverSafe, a data storage technology company; StrongLoop, a software provider that enables developers to build APIs that connect applications and devices; Appcore, a cloud automation management platform; Blue Box Group, a managed private cloud provider built on OpenStack; and AlchemyAPI, a cognitive computing company that will integrate with IBM’s Watson platform.
The Online & Mobile horizontal market saw volume increase 12 percent between 2014 and 2015. The number of deals in the E-Commerce segment gained 16 percent. In terms of value, the largest E-Commerce acquirer in 2015 was online travel company Expedia with a combined total of $4.94 billion paid in transaction value. This consisted of HomeAway, an online marketplace for the vacation rental industry, for $3.24 billion; as well as Orbitz Worldwide for $1.42 billion and Travelocity.com for $280 million.
“M&A can sometimes be an indicator of people’s view of the economy three or four years down the road,” said James Berkery, Chief Information Officer at Berkery Noyes. “Activity is trending upwards, and the prices that companies are forking over to acquire other companies have been strong. This is occasionally viewed as a bellwether, and if that’s the case, 2015 was a vote of confidence that next year should be fairly good economically.”
A copy of the INFORMATION INDUSTRY M&A REPORT FOR FULL YEAR 2015 is available at the Berkery Noyes website.