According to Berkery Noyes’ Online and Mobile report for full year 2016, volume saw a one percent uptick on a year-to-year basis, totaling 2,874 transactions in 2016. Aggregate deal value gained 12 percent, from $157.99 billion to $177.35 billion.
The number of acquisitions in the consumer mobile application subsector remained about constant from 2015 to 2016. Notable mobile-based transactions in the gaming sector during 2016 included Tencent Holdings’ acquisition of Supercell, the Finnish maker of the “Clash of Clans” game, for $8.6 billion; and a Chinese consortium’s announced acquisition of Playtika, a social and mobile games company headquartered in Israel, for $4.4 billion.
Additional mobile deals by high profile acquirers in 2016 were Microsoft’s announced acquisition of Swiftkey, which provides predictive keyboard technology for Android and iOS devices, with a reported purchase price of approximately $250 million; Gopro’s announced acquisition of video editing apps Replay and Splice for $105 million; Snap (formerly known as Snapchat) with the acquisition of Vurb, a mobile search and discovery engine, for a reported $110 million; and Bitstrips, which allows users to create personalized emojis and carton avatars, for a reported $100 million; and CNN’s announced acquisition of Beme, a social media app founded by YouTube star Casey Neistat, for a reported $25 million.
The E-Commerce segment was responsible for the overall industry’s largest yearly rise in volume with an 11 percent increase. One of the most high profile E-Commerce transactions during the past year was Wal-Mart’s acquisition of Jet.com, an online retailer, for $3.3 billion, as the retail giant looks to bolster its online operations to better compete with Amazon and others.
Other notable segment deals included Salesforce’s acquisition of Demandware, a provider of digital commerce solutions used by retailers, for $2.66 billion; Ctrip’s announced acquisition of Skyscanner, a global travel search site that offers online comparisons for millions of flight, car hire and hotel prices, for $1.74 billion; Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of Trader Corporation, a digital automotive marketplace, for $1.22 billion; and Alibaba Group’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Lazada, an E-Commerce platform that serves consumers in Southeast Asia, for $1 billion.
As for other sectors covered in the report, volume in the Communications segment stayed nearly the same on a yearly basis. Meanwhile, deal activity in the E-Content segment decreased eleven percent year-over-year. This followed a 21 percent rise in 2015. Transaction activity in the E-Marketing & Search segment increased three percent throughout the last 12 months.
“Given the market’s emphasis on data and the increased demand for analytics solutions, companies in this sector should expect to see premium valuations,” said Vineet Asthana, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “Before, marketers had few data points and completely relied on humans to source leads. As we moved toward the digital era, the amount of data points that a typical marketer has to interpret every day has skyrocketed.” Asthana continued, “Machine learning has the ability to extract patterns from huge volumes of data which have high velocity and variety. Predictive analytics and machine learning are transforming the way marketers evaluate and respond to consumer activity in milliseconds and cross channel digital marketing is rapidly taking hold.”