Deal volume in Berkery Noyes’ Media and Marketing report for third quarter 2015 declined six percent between second and third quarter 2015. However, the number of transactions year-to-date increased four percent compared to the corresponding timeframe in 2014. Aggregate value rose 15 percent on a quarterly basis, from $20.8 billion to $24.0 billion.
The B2B Publishing and Information segment experienced a 38 percent improvement on a quarter-to-quarter basis, from 39 to 54 deals. Strategic acquirers were responsible for 85 percent of the segment’s volume year-to-date, as opposed to 72 percent of volume throughout the first three quarters of 2014. The largest B2B deal in third quarter 2015 was McGraw Hill Financial’s acquisition of SNL Financial, a news, data, and analysis provider, for $2.2 billion.
M&A volume in the Consumer Publishing segment stayed about the same with 30 transactions. The largest Consumer Publishing deal in third quarter 2015 and year-to-date was Japanese media group Nikkei’s announced acquisition of The Financial Times from Pearson for $1.3 billion. Pearson has completed several recent divestitures as it looks to focus on its global education business.
M&A activity in the Marketing segment decreased eight percent during the third quarter. This followed a 14 percent rise from first to second quarter 2015. The highest value Marketing deal in the third quarter was comScore’s announced acquisition of Rentrak Corporation, a cross-platform media measurement firm, for $827 million. Rentrak will be merged with comScore and serve as a competitor to current leaders in the analytics and media tracking space such as Nielsen.
Meanwhile, WPP was the overall industry’s most active acquirer year-to-date with 20 transactions, 12 of which of occurred in the third quarter. The largest of these deals was WPP Group and Providence Equity Partners’ announced acquisition of Chime Communications for $550 million. Chime Communications provides public relations, advertising, sports marketing, market research, direct marketing, and design and event management consultancy services.
Another notable Marketing transaction during the quarter was Sony Pictures Television’s acquisition of a majority stake in IMS Internet Media Services, an ad sales and media buying firm focused on the Latin American market, for $100 million. In terms of specific subsectors, digital marketing deals accounted for 46 percent of the segment’s volume in the third quarter, a ratio that was consistent with the previous two quarters. “Deal flow in the digital marketing subsector has remained strong throughout the year,” said Vineet Asthana, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “The vast majority, more than 90 percent, have been completed by strategic acquirers. They are looking to supplement their organic growth, and without the pressure to exit their investments, are often focused on the long-term value of obtaining new products and services.”