Both companies made 70 transactions -- Dentsu (37) and WPP Group (33), according to JEGI, the media investment banker. Alphabet/Google was next at 18, followed by j2Global at 13; Accenture with 12; Salesforce at 11; IBM with 10; Microsoft at 10; Oracle with 9; and Verizon at 9.
Marketing services was the second-biggest category in terms of value and number of deals. There were 630 deals (2016), virtually the same as the 631in 2015. Value of those deals rose by 68% to $43.5 billion from $26.0 billion in 2015.
The largest deal in this segment was GIC and Golden Gate buy of Neustar, a real-time, cloud-based marketing and communications company, for $2.9 billion. One of the biggest ad holding companies deals was WPP Xaxis’ buy of Triad Digital Media, a digital retail media platform, for $300 million.
The biggest media/marketing/software deal of year was Microsoft's purchase of LinkedIn for $29.3 billion. The fifth-highest was Verizon Communication’s $4.8 billion deal for Yahoo.
Overall, there was a 44% increase in the number of media, information, technology deals -- to $218.9 million from $152.3 million in 2015. The number of deals declined 8% to 2,157 from 2,342.
The biggest category was software/technology services, which witnessed 9% fewer deals to 1,318 and 41% higher total overall value $107.9 billion.