Berkery Noyes’ Media and Marketing report for full year 2015 indicated that deal volume improved eight percent on a year-to-year basis. Aggregate value gained 12 percent, from $97.07 billion to $109.01 billion. In terms of valuations, the median revenue multiple moved slightly from 2.0x to 1.9x, while the median EBITDA multiple decreased from 11.0x to 8.7x.
The Internet Media segment underwent a 19 percent increase in deal activity. Online shopping giant Alibaba Group was a notable segment acquirer with the announced acquisition of Youku Tudou, a Chinese-based Internet television platform that enables users to search, view and share video content across multiple devices, for $3.37 billion. Alibaba, in which Yahoo! owns a 15 percent stake, also completed a related deal in 2014 when it acquired a 60 percent stake in ChinaVision Media Group, a television and film producer.
The Marketing segment experienced a six percent rise in volume. Of note, there were no Marketing acquisitions that made the industry’s top ten list of highest value deals during the year, as opposed to four in 2014.
The segment with the largest year-to-year rise in volume was Exhibitions, Conferences, and Events. This sector saw volume increase 33 percent, from 85 to 113 acquisitions. The most active related acquirer in 2015, either directly or through an affiliated business, was Providence Equity Partners with six transactions.
M&A activity in the Entertainment segment, after rising six percent during 2014, remained constant over the past year. Regarding value, the segment’s largest transaction in 2015 was Activision Blizzard’s acquisition of King Digital Entertainment, creator of the well-known mobile game Candy Crush Saga, for $5.9 billion.
Deal flow within the B2B Publishing and Information segment improved 11 percent on a yearly basis. In addition, the B2B segment had the industry’s largest rise in value, more than doubling from $9.38 billion to $23.01 billion. This gain was due in part to Intercontinental Exchange’s acquisition of Interactive Data Corporation, a provider of financial market data and analytics, for $7.45 billion.
“There has been a steady uptick in media mergers and acquisitions activity, with more deals on the horizon and a positive outlook going forward,” said Vineet Asthana, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “Companies with a balance of revenue streams, some recurring revenue and more subscription type products in the mix are especially attractive to acquirers.”