M&A Goes Away: E-commerce Deal Count Fell In 2022

Email teams concerned about job security can rest easy on one score: it’s less likely that their firms will be acquired by some new owner in the near future. 

The digital commerce sector saw a +38% surge in M&A activity in 2021, partly driven by accelerated digitization due to COVID-19, according to Digital Commerce, an M&A market report from Hampleton. 

But 2022 brought a 9% decrease despite a big opening to the year. Overall, there were 2,167 deals in 2022. 

Specifically, there were 699 deals in Q1 2022 -- up from an already high total of 644 in Q4 2021. In contrast, there were 451 deals in Q3 2022 and 473 in Q4. 

“Political and economic uncertainties, as well as the market’s inherent inclination to normalize after a period of high activity and volatility, have caused this downswing,” the study states. 



But this reflects “M&A normalizing after a record-breaking start to 2022,” the study also notes, “We see the Digital Commerce M&A market as a stable, mature, and resistant market within the global economy.” 

The busiest acquirers included:

  1. Embracer Group — 19 
  2. Tencent acquired — 15 
  3. Animoca Brands — 11
  4. Accenture — 10
  5. Klarna — 8
  6. — 8
  7. Microsoft — 7
  8. Sony interactive Entertainment — 7

Gaming companies were among the most popular purchases. But there were also several deals in the marketing area. 

For instance, Klarna acquired flexEngage Inc., a POS & marketing automation SaaS provider. And acquired 180Commerce LLC, a firm that offers ecommerce marketing SaaS and services

By sector, the deal counts were:

Media, Social & Gaming — 24%

Internet Services & Portals — 21%

Digital Commerce Software — 20%

Online retail--18%

Agencies & Service Providers — 17%

The study reports: “Deal volumes are normalizing at a higher level (north of 450 deals) than in 2016-2019, where we saw a deal average of 385. Active acquirers have decreased from 14% to 7% in 2H 2022. This reservation of the formerly notorious buyer group makes a significant difference to deal volumes in the market.” 

For their part, ecommerce owners might reconsider pursuing a sale at this time. 


Next story loading loading..