Dollar volume was up 9% to $49.8 billion -- with the number of deals shrinking 3% to 850 from 879, according to investment bank Berkery Noyes. The individual value of those deals also sank: to 1.4 times revenue from 2.0 times revenue; cash flow (EBITDA) was also down 8.3 times from 8.9 times cash flow.
More difficult comparisons are made when looking at the 2013 versus 2014. That's because one deal, the proposed mega-merger of Publicis and Omnicom, was cancelled in May 2014, leading to a significant downward revision in total value for second half 2013.
Comparing the first half of 2014 versus the first half of 2013 is another story -- with volume almost double that of the $29.3 billion of 2013 first six months, coming from 818 deals.
Marketing company transactions, the biggest segment in term of the number of deals, continues to grow -- up 7% this versus a 4% hike in the second half of 2013. Marketing represents 36% of all industry transactions. The biggest deal in the industry was Leonard Green & Partners $4.2 billion of Advantage Sales and Marketing.
Digital deals, the second-biggest category, witnessed a 4% rise versus the second half of 2013. Biggest deal here: Hellman & Friedman's buy of Internet Brands for $1.1 billion.
The next biggest category, consumer publishing, sank 10% over the past six months versus the previous period. The biggest deal in the category: Apax Partners’ buying Trader Media Group for $1.92 billion.
In the entertainment category, the fourth-largest segment, had Discovery Communications buying All3media for $927 million. This was one of three deals Discovery made during the period.