Marketing Services Dominate M&A Transactions In 2014

There were 752 merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions in media, information, marketing and technology sectors that dominated the market during the first six months of 2014, totaling $64.4 billion -- up from $27.8 billion in the same time in the prior year.

Deal volume rose 6% compared with the first six months prior year, with support from Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of mobile messaging application WhatsApp, per The Jordan, Edmiston Group (JEGI), an investment bank specializing in M&A advisory services.

Small merger and acquisitions continue to dominate, raising questions on the confidence investors have in the "recovering" economy. Some 24 large transactions with price tags of more than $500 million accounted for 71% of the total announced M&A deals in the first half of 2014, but only 3% of volume. In contrast, small deals less than $50 million drove 83% of volume, according to JEGI.

Marketing Services & Technology once again dominated M&A activity, with 307 transactions, accounting for 41% of total deal volume. This sector had 37 more deals than the next three most active sectors combined, Healthcare Information & Technology, about 122 deals.

B2C Online Media & Technology followed with 83 deals, while Mobile Media & Technology did 66 deals. Between January and June 2014, a majority of the Marketing Services & Technology transactions fell within sub-sectors. Marketing technology accounted for 18% of the deals; digital agency, 17%; data and analytics, 11%; and traditional agency, 9%.

The growing impact of technology on marketing has begun to spur deals in tech and automation, and data and analytics. The report explains that last month, JEGI advised the founders and majority shareholders of mobile app company Distimo in its sale to competitor App Annie.

The merger of Distimo and App Annie creates a global leader in the mobile app analytics space, with the largest transaction data sets for the most publishers globally. Combined, the companies will have nearly 600,000 apps relying on their analytics tools. 

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