NEW YORK — January 6, 2016 — Berkery Noyes, an independent mid-market investment bank, today released its full year 2015 mergers and acquisitions trend report for the Media and Marketing Industry. The report analyzes M&A activity in the Media and Marketing Industry during 2015 and compares it with data covering 2013 and 2014.
The firm’s research shows deal volume improved eight percent on a year-to-year basis. Aggregate value gained 12 percent, from $97.07 billion to $109.01 billion. In terms of valuations, the median revenue multiple moved slightly from 2.0x to 1.9x, while the median EBITDA multiple decreased from 11.0x to 8.7x. Deals in the $10-$20 million range over the last three years received a median enterprise value multiple of 1.5x revenue, whereas those above $160 million had a median enterprise value multiple of 2.8x revenue. The number of private equity backed transactions increased 13 percent during the past year, from 207 to 233.
The Internet Media segment underwent a 19 percent increase in deal activity. Online shopping giant Alibaba Group was a notable segment acquirer with the announced acquisition of Youku Tudou, a Chinese-based Internet television platform that enables users to search, view and share video content across multiple devices, for $3.37 billion. Alibaba, in which Yahoo! owns a 15 percent stake, also completed a related deal in 2014 when it acquired a 60 percent stake in ChinaVision Media Group, a television and film producer.
The Marketing segment experienced a six percent rise in volume. Of note, there were no Marketing acquisitions that made the industry’s top ten list of highest value deals during the year, as opposed to four in 2014. High profile segment transactions in 2015 included Dalian Wanda Group’s announced acquisition of Infront Sports & Media AG, an international sports marketing company that offers an array of services such as media rights distribution, brand development, and event sponsorship, for $1.2 billion; comScore’s announced acquisition of Rentrak Corporation, a cross-platform media measurement firm, for $827 million; and GTCR and Adams Outdoor Advertising’s announced acquisition of Fairway Outdoor Advertising, which operates about 20,000 bulletins, posters and digital billboards, for $575 million.
As for other areas covered in the report, the segment with the largest year-to-year rise in volume was Exhibitions, Conferences, and Events. This sector saw volume increase 33 percent, from 85 to 113 acquisitions. The most active related acquirer in 2015, either directly or through an affiliated business, was Providence Equity Partners with six transactions.
M&A activity in the Entertainment segment, after rising six percent during 2014, remained constant over the past year. Regarding value, the segment’s largest transaction in 2015 was Activision Blizzard’s acquisition of King Digital Entertainment, creator of the well-known mobile game Candy Crush Saga, for $5.9 billion.
Deal flow within the B2B Publishing and Information segment improved 11 percent on a yearly basis. In addition, the B2B segment had the industry’s largest rise in value, more than doubling from $9.38 billion to $23.01 billion. This gain was due in part to Intercontinental Exchange’s acquisition of Interactive Data Corporation, a provider of financial market data and analytics, for $7.45 billion. Other notable segment deals included Verisk Analytics’ acquisition of Wood Mackenzie, a data analytics and research firm focused on the oil, gas and mining market, for $2.79 billion; McGraw Hill Financial’s acquisition of SNL Financial, a news, data, and analysis provider, for $2.23 billion; and Equifax’s announced acquisition of Veda, a consumer and commercial credit reporting company, for $1.86 billion.
In terms of the Consumer Publishing segment, volume declined five percent in 2015. The largest Consumer Publishing transaction during the year was Japanese media group Nikkei’s announced acquisition of The Financial Times from Pearson for $1.3 billion. Previously mentioned Alibaba also completed a deal in the segment with the acquisition of South China Morning Post, an English language daily newspaper in Hong Kong. Jack Ma of Alibaba is now one of several Internet and tech leaders who have made notable recent investments in the Consumer Publishing space, following others such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos with the acquisition of The Washington Post for $250 million in 2013. Meanwhile, the most active Consumer Publishing acquirer in 2015 was Adams Publishing Group. The family-owned media company, which owns community newspapers, specialty magazines, radio stations, and other products in its portfolio, completed five deals.
“There has been a steady uptick in media mergers and acquisitions activity, with more deals on the horizon and a positive outlook going forward,” said Vineet Asthana, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “Companies with a balance of revenue streams, some recurring revenue and more subscription type products in the mix are especially attractive to acquirers.”
A copy of the MEDIA AND MARKETING INDUSTRY M&A REPORT FOR FULL YEAR 2015 is available at the Berkery Noyes website.