Agency and marketing, information and digital content were the top three most active sectors last year, remaining steady from 2013 and 2012. Software, mobile, and digital content delivered on the higher financial value in 2014.
The aggregate total value of announced M&A deals rose to $224 billion in 2014 from $151 billion in 2013, according to a report from a boutique investment bank and advisory firm. MediaPost reports that Coady Diemar Partners estimates that 2,239 acquisitions in digital media, information and technology were announced last year – up from 2,019 in 2013 – and activity should continue to pick up in 2015. The firm tracks M&A deal activity in eight sectors in the market.
Announced deals in software represented $48 billion or 21.7% of the total – up from $27 billion and 17.7% in 2013 – followed by mobile, digital content and information, evenly distributed and each accounting for between 17.8% and 15.0% of the total. Facebook’s WhatsApp acquisition for $19.7 billion substantially increased the value of mobile M&As.
While WhatsApp represents the largest deal, there were 48 M&A transactions above $1 billion in deal value last year, accounting for 61.9% of total reported deal value, compared with 34 transactions in 2013, accounting for 59.2% of total deal value.
The firm categorized 28 deals as search, search engine optimization or paid-search marketing, and 178 deals categorized as digital agencies with Google, Yahoo, Publicis, and WPP Groupe the most active acquirers. Overall, 2014 was an active year in the advertising technology sector, with 100 M&A transactions representing $7.5 billion in value, more than three times the value of deals in 2013.