Media-Marketing M&A Deals Slow In Q1

Mergers-and-acquisitions deal-making for media and marketing companies slowed down substantially in the first quarter of this year versus the same period the year before.

Media investment banker JEGI/Clarity says: “Despite lingering concerns around market volatility and economic uncertainty, optimism remains high among deal makers. Increased cash held by corporations, partly fueled by tax reform, will likely help facilitate an increased number of transactions.”

Consumer media/entertainment deals totaled 70 (with a value of $7.1 billion) in the first quarter 2019, down from first-quarter 2018’s 148 deals ($11.4 billion in total value), per JEGI/Clarity.

The report authors say: “There were a number of consumer media transactions in the first quarter involving votes of confidence on digital publishers and their ability to backfill advertising revenue that has been all but lost to Google and Facebook.”

B-to-B media/information deals sank from 284 to 233 -- with total value down 70%, from $18.5 million to $5.3 billion. Advertising, marketing technology and ecommerce deals went from 244 to 114 deals, with the value dropping nearly in half, from $6.7 billion $3.8 billion.



In reference to the advertising category, media agency group Publicis Groupe announced a deal to acquire database marketing giant Epsilon from Alliance Data Systems for $4.4 billion. In the fourth quarter 2018, Publicis competitor Interpublic Group announced a deal for Acxiom’s database marketing business.

Software/technology company deals may have been the only bright spot. While mergers and acquisitions agreements sank from 510 to 384, total value of the deals more than doubled from a year ago -- from $20.4 billion to $54.3 billion. The most prominent deal was SAP’s $8 billion announced acquisition of analytics software company Qualtrics.

During the period, the report notes that music streaming service Spotify completed the acquisitions of Gimlet Media, a podcast publisher, and Anchor, a developer of tools for podcast creation and monetization, for a total value of $300 million.

In 2018, there were 4,739 total media/communications/technology deals valued at $327.8 billion -- up from 4,609 deals in 2017 with a value of $264.2 billion.

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