April 8, 2016 Last Updated 1:28 pm

Berkery Noyes reports media M&A activity down 12% in Q1

NEW YORK, NY — April 7, 2016 — Berkery Noyes, an independent mid-market investment bank, today released its Q1 2016 mergers and acquisitions trend report for the Media and Marketing Industry. The report analyzes M&A activity in the Media and Marketing Industry during Q1 2016 and compares it with the past four quarters.

According to Berkery Noyes’ latest research, transaction volume declined six percent over the past three months. Total value decreased 12 percent, from $43.5 billion to $38.3 billion. Of note, five of the industry’s top ten highest value acquisitions last year occurred in Q4 2015. When compared to the same time period in 2015, value more than doubled. The number of deals throughout the past five quarters reached its peak in Q2 2015, whereas aggregate value reached its zenith in Q4 2015.

The industry’s largest transaction in Q1 2016 was IHS’ announced merger with Markit Group, a global provider of financial information services, for $11 billion. One aspect of this deal is that the new combined company will be headquartered in London, in part to benefit from lower corporate tax rates, which has some components of a tax inversion. In addition to Markit, IHS acquired Oil Price Information Services, a comprehensive source for petroleum pricing and news information, for $650 million.

Three of the industry’s top ten largest transactions thus far in 2016 occurred in the B2B segment. Along with Markit Group and Oil Price Information Services, which were acquired by IHS, this consisted of IBM Watson Health’s announced acquisition of Truven Health Analytics, a provider of healthcare data, analytics and insights, for $3.6 billion.

The Marketing segment experienced a 15 percent quarterly increase in M&A activity. Marketing deals represented 41 percent of aggregate volume in Q1 2016, as opposed to 33 percent in Q4 2015. The largest Marketing transaction year-to-date was Lamar Advertising’s acquisition of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings’ out-of-home assets in five U.S. markets for $459 million. Lamar Advertising gained over 5,500 billboards and signs with this transaction.

Other notable segment deals in Q1 2016 included Web.com’s acquisition of Yodle, which provides online marketing and advertising services to local business owners, for $342 million; and Sykes Enterprises’ announced acquisition of ClearLink, a marketing, sales, and analytics business that serves B2C and B2B companies in a wide array of sectors, for $207 million. Regarding new acquirers, The New York Times made a move in the space with the acquisition of HelloSociety, a digital marketing firm that helps brands drive engagement across multiple social media platforms. HelloSociety was founded in 2012 and initially focused on analytics and marketing campaigns for Pinterest but has since expanded to Instagram, YouTube, and other sites. The company’s staff and technology will be integrated with T Brand Studio, The Times’ in-house advertising agency.

Transaction volume in the Internet Media segment improved four percent in Q1 2016. The segment’s largest U.S. based deal was IBM’s acquisition of Ustream, a provider of live video streaming services, for $130 million. Meanwhile, in terms of notable acquirers in the online apartment rental space, Zillow acquired Naked Apartments and Zumper acquired PadMapper.

As for the Broadcasting segment, volume fell 70 percent on a quarter-to-quarter basis, from 30 to 9 deals. This marked a near return to its Q1 2015 level. The segment’s largest transaction year-to-date was Nexstar Broadcasting’s announced acquisition of Media General for $4.5 billion. This transaction was contingent upon the termination of the previous merger agreement between Media General and Meredith Corporation in Q3 2015 for $3.1 billion.

Deal activity in the Consumer Publishing segment declined 51 percent in Q1 2016. This followed a 29 percent rise in Q4 2015. There were no Consumer Publishing acquisitions that reached the top ten list of largest transactions year-to-date. Total volume in the B2B Publishing and Information segment remained about constant over the past quarter but gained 38 percent relative to Q1 2015.

“Media companies that have diversified offerings and are showing year-over-year growth are attractive to both strategics and private equity,” said Mary Jo Zandy, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “Moreover, B2B information producers continue to be attractive acquisition targets when they provide data and information on a subscription basis. Users are demanding high quality content, accessibility through many mediums, and more interaction with content creators. All of these factors are driving interest in business information providers.”

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