The State of M&A: Deals Down, Mobile Gains

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While media deals lag well behind 2008 numbers, a noticeable uptick in the media mergers and acquisitions took place in the third quarter versus the previous periods in the year.

According to a survey from media investment service company The Jordan, Edmiston Group, deals for 3Q were at $11.1 billion. That's up over the entire first half of the year, which was at $5.3 billion.

But for the first nine months of the year, M&A deals continue to lag that of 2008 -- now at $16.4 billion for 466 deals, down 42% from the $28.5 billion in value and 30% from the number deals, 662, for the same time period in 2008.

The steepest decline in value came in the database information service area, which dropped to 34 deals and $1.6 billion in value versus 36 deals and $8.6 billion. The largest drop in deals came from the marketing and interactive group -- around 100 fewer deals.



Two of the biggest gainers in 2009 over 2008 were alliance for mobile and education.

Education deals grew 15% in number and 41% in value to $3.2 billion. JEGI says the sector benefited from innovation and government spending. One of the bigger deals was Barnes & Noble's purchase of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers for $596 million.

The Mobile Media & Technology group climbed 56% with a 76% improvement in overall value to $400 million versus a year ago. The largest deal was Syniverse Holdings' $175 million acquisition of VeriSign's mobile messaging platform.

Online media and technology group was the biggest group, with some 141 deals and $5.6 billion in value. This was down in the number of deals by 31.2% versus a year ago and 25.6% in value. The main deal here was Amazon's purchase of online shoe and apparel retailer Zappos for $928 million.

The second-biggest overall area was marketing and interactive services, which declined almost half to 109 deals and $5.03 billion in value. That is down from 203 deals in the third quarter of 2008 and $7.2 billion in value.

Two of the biggest deals in this group include IBM's $1.2 billion acquisition of SPSS, an analytic software and solutions company, and Adobe's $1.8 billion buy of Omniture, the business optimization software company.

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