NEW YORK — October 5, 2015 — Berkery Noyes, an independent mid-market investment bank, today released its third quarter 2015 mergers and acquisitions trend report for the Media and Marketing Industry. The report analyzes M&A activity during the three-month period and compares it with data for the six previous quarters.
Deal volume declined six percent between second and third quarter 2015. However, the number of transactions year-to-date increased four percent compared to the corresponding timeframe in 2014. Aggregate value rose 15 percent on a quarterly basis, from $20.8 billion to $24.0 billion.
M&A activity in the Marketing segment decreased eight percent during the third quarter. This followed a 14 percent rise from first to second quarter 2015. The highest value Marketing deal in the third quarter was comScore’s announced acquisition of Rentrak Corporation, a cross-platform media measurement firm, for $827 million. Rentrak will be merged with comScore and serve as a competitor to current leaders in the analytics and media tracking space such as Nielsen.
Meanwhile, WPP was the overall industry’s most active acquirer year-to-date with 20 transactions, 12 of which of occurred in the third quarter. The largest of these deals was WPP Group and Providence Equity Partners’ announced acquisition of Chime Communications for $550 million. Chime Communications provides public relations, advertising, sports marketing, market research, direct marketing, and design and event management consultancy services.
Another notable Marketing transaction during the quarter was Sony Pictures Television’s acquisition of a majority stake in IMS Internet Media Services, an ad sales and media buying firm focused on the Latin American market, for $100 million. In terms of specific subsectors, digital marketing deals accounted for 46 percent of the segment’s volume in the third quarter, a ratio that was consistent with the previous two quarters. “Deal flow in the digital marketing subsector has remained strong throughout the year,” said Vineet Asthana, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “The vast majority, more than 90 percent, have been completed by strategic acquirers. They are looking to supplement their organic growth, and without the pressure to exit their investments, are often focused on the long-term value of obtaining new products and services.”
Transaction volume in the Internet Media segment, after rising 16 percent from first to second quarter 2015, declined 28 percent in the third quarter. Notable Internet Media deals over the past three months included Match.com’s acquisition of PlentyOfFish, an online dating service, for $575 million; Axel Springer’s acquisition of Business Insider, an online news site, for $342 million; Yahoo!’s acquisition of Polyvore, a social commerce website with active fashion, beauty, and interior design communities, for $230 million; AOL’s acquisition of Millennial Media, a mobile advertising company, for $218 million; and Torstar’s acquisition of VerticalScope, a digital media company that owns and operates more than 600 consumer enthusiast online forums and premium content sites across North America, for $155 million. Of note, the Millennial Media deal followed AOL’s recent acquisition by Verizon for $4.1 billion in May and shows that AOL is continuing to invest in programmatic technology.
The Exhibitions, Conferences, and Events segment saw volume remain about constant for the third consecutive quarter. However, volume year-to-date increased 30 percent compared to the first three quarters of 2014, from 57 to 74 deals. Providence Equity Partners completed two segment acquisitions in the third quarter with Urban Expositions and Border Security Expo through Clarion Events. Regarding value, the segment’s largest deal in the quarter was Dalian Wanda Group’s acquisition of World Triathlon Corporation, which organizes Ironman triathlon events, for $650 million from Providence Equity Partners.
The B2B Publishing and Information segment experienced a 38 percent improvement on a quarter-to-quarter basis, from 39 to 54 deals. 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. New Mountain Capital acquired a majority stake in SNL Financial back in 2011, which valued the company at $450 million.
M&A volume in the Consumer Publishing segment stayed about the same with 30 transactions. The largest Consumer Publishing deal in third quarter 2015 and year-to-date was Japanese media group Nikkei’s announced acquisition of The Financial Times from Pearson for $1.3 billion. Pearson has completed several recent divestitures as it looks to focus on its global education business.
As for additional areas covered in the report, transaction volume in the Entertainment Content segment was consistent with 45 acquisitions. There was an uptick in the video game subsector, from 17 to 20 transactions. Broadcasting was responsible for the industry’s largest gain in volume during the past three months. The number of deals in the Broadcasting segment rose 69 percent, from 16 to 27 deals.
A copy of the MEDIA AND MARKETING INDUSTRY M&A REPORT FOR THIRD QUARTER 2015 is available at the Berkery Noyes website.