NEW YORK — October 9, 2015 — Berkery Noyes, an independent mid-market investment bank, today released its third quarter 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 the first three quarters of 2015 and compares it with data for the six previous quarters.
Deal volume declined two percent over the past three months. This followed a seven percent increase from first to second quarter 2015, which was the industry’s peak for volume throughout the past seven quarters. Aggregate value gained 13 percent, from $65.9 billion in second quarter 2015 to $74.5 billion in third quarter 2015.
The largest transaction in third quarter 2015 and year-to-date was The Carlyle Group’s announced acquisition of Veritas Technologies Corporation, a provider of storage and server management software solutions, for $8 billion. This deal represented 11 percent of the industry’s aggregate value during the quarter. Also of note, four of the Information Industry’s top ten highest value deals year-to-date were back by financial sponsors. Three of these four acquisitions occurred in the third quarter.
As for the horizontal markets in the report, volume in the Online & Mobile component of the Information Industry fell seven percent in the third quarter. However, when compared to the first three quarters of 2014, Online & Mobile transaction volume year-to-date rose 15 percent. Meanwhile, information technology research and analysis provider Gartner was a notable acquirer in the Online horizontal with three transactions during the third quarter. This consisted of Nubera, a cloud apps management service with user-generated and editorial reviews of software and apps for businesses; CloudHarmony, a cloud performance benchmarking company; and Capterra, an online directory for enterprise software vendors.
Deal flow across the Software horizontal, after increasing 29 percent from first to second quarter 2015, declined 21 percent. Four of the horizontal’s top ten highest value deals year-to-date occurred in the Infrastructure segment. In terms of “Niche Software,” which is targeted to specific vertical industries, volume improved 13 percent on a quarterly basis. The largest Niche Software deal in the quarter and year-to-date was Vista Equity Partners’ acquisition of Solera Holdings for $5.8 billion. Solera provides risk management software to the automotive and property marketplace, including the property and casualty (P&C) insurance sector.
M&A activity in the Business Software segment, which consists of software designed for general business practices and not specific vertical industries, saw volume rise five percent. Microsoft was the segment’s most active acquirer year-to-date with eight transactions. Four of the eight deals occurred in the third quarter. Several of these, such as the acquisition of Adxstudio, were focused on Microsoft’s customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Transaction volume in the Media & Marketing horizontal decreased six percent over the past quarter. This followed an eight percent increase from first to second quarter 2015. Regarding notable acquirers, publisher Time Inc. completed three deals in the third quarter to help strengthen Sports Illustrated Play, its new business focused on youth and amateur sports. This consisted of iScore, SportsSignup, and LeagueAthletics.com. In the second quarter Time Inc. also acquired FanSided, a sports, entertainment and lifestyle network. Aside from these related deals, Time Inc. made another acquisition in the third quarter with InVNT, an experiential marketing company that specializes in live media, digital and traditional media, brand environments and creative services.
The B2B Publishing and Information segment underwent a 38 percent increase in volume on a quarter-to-quarter basis. Strategic acquirers were responsible for 85 percent of the segment’s volume year-to-date, as opposed to 72 percent of volume throughout the first three quarters of 2014. The largest B2B deal in third quarter 2015 was McGraw Hill Financial’s acquisition of SNL Financial, a news, data, and analysis provider, for $2.2 billion.
In addition, there were several vertical market segments of the Information Industry that showed growth on a quarter-to-quarter basis. This included a 36 percent rise in volume in the Education market. The largest Education transaction in third quarter 2015 and year-to-date was TPG Capital and Leonard Green Capital Partners’ announced acquisition of Ellucian, which provides higher education software, services, and analytics, for $3.5 billion.
“In recent years, thousands of specialized, innovative niche players, many of them well ensconced and highly profitable, have emerged to meet the specific needs of highly targeted users,” said James Berkery, Chief Information Officer at Berkery Noyes. “In their effort to grow vertically and add value to aging product offerings, the larger strategic information providers are snapping up these smaller, customer focused businesses in a steady stream of relatively narrow but nonetheless robust auctions. The pace of acquisitions should ramp up as the year unfolds, with information providers across most segments resolving the buy-it or build-it dilemma in favor of the former.”
A copy of the INFORMATION INDUSTRY M&A REPORT FOR THIRD QUARTER 2015 is available at the Berkery Noyes website.