According to Berkery Noyes’ Online and Mobile report for full year 2015, transaction volume increased 12 percent on a year-to-year basis. Aggregate deal value gained 19 percent, from $131.16 billion to $156.49 billion. Five of the top ten largest transactions in 2015 occurred during the fourth quarter. These five deals, with a combined value of $22.79 billion, accounted for 15 percent of the industry's aggregate value. The median revenue multiple decreased from 2.4x to 2.2x, while the median EBITDA multiple declined from 13.1x to 10.0x.
The SaaS & Cloud segment was responsible for the overall industry’s largest yearly rise in volume with a 21 percent increase. SaaS & Cloud acquisitions from 2013 through 2015 saw a median revenue multiple of 2.6x and median EBITDA multiple of 11.9x.
M&A volume in the E-Commerce segment increased 16 percent in 2015. Upon examination of value, the largest E-Commerce acquirer in 2015 was online travel company Expedia with a combined total of $4.94 billion paid in transaction value.
Transaction activity in the E-Marketing & Search segment declined three percent throughout the last 12 months. This followed a 19 percent improvement from 2013 to 2014. Deal flow remained strong in the ad tech sector during 2015, as indicated by notable transactions such as Twitter’s acquisition of TellApart for $653 million; Nielsen’s acquisition of eXelate for $200 million; The Rubicon Project’s acquisition of Chango for $122 million; and AppNexus’ acquisition of Yieldex, for $100 million.
“Companies that can differentiate their offerings from the average digital and mobile-based ad tech players are performing well,” said Vineet Asthana, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “Potential acquirers include large telecommunications firms, traditional B2B media companies, and offline data providers that are looking for a digital platform. Furthermore many advertising networks without programmatic technology capabilities want to expand their suite of solutions to help better automate their marketing campaigns.”
The Communications segment underwent an 11 percent improvement in volume. Notable segment deals in 2015 included Siris Capital Group’s acquisition of Premiere Global Services, Inc. (PGi), a provider of collaboration software and services, for $979 million; Cisco Systems’ announced acquisition of Acano Limited, a conferencing software business, for $700 million; and Atos’ announced acquisition of Unify, an integrated communications company, for $427 million.
In terms of other notable industry trends, there were several deals completed by high profile acquirers in 2015 relating to the Internet of Things (IoT). This included Cisco Systems’ acquisition of ParStream, IBM’s acquisition of StrongLoop, Autodesk’s acquisition of SeeControl, and Amazon’s acquisition of 2lemetry.