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Nearly 1,000 marcomms merger and acquisition deals completed in 2014 as activity quickens

The marketing communications sector saw 972 mergers and acquisitions (M&A) take place in 2014, up from the total number completed during the previous year according to research conducted by Results International.

Statistics released by the business consultancy to The Drum exclusively, have revealed that 69 deals within the sector were backed through private equity last year, while 286 were cross border deals, with WPP having completed the most marcomms transactions with 53 in total.

In 2013, the same research found that 830 M&A marcomms deals were completed, including 67 in the Adtech sector.

For the full year, the total disclosed deal value was $23.6bn, with disclosed deal value in the final three months counting for more than the rest of the year combined at $12.2bn, of which the acquisition of Sapient Group by Publicis made up over a quarter ($3.7bn).

However the number of deals agreed in that period, despite the high costs, were in-line with the rest of the year, at 24 per cent. Of those deals, 29 per cent were cross border.

Other acquisitions to have been completed last year in the Marcomms field included Cheil buying a stake in Iris for $39m, Lake Capital’s acquisition of Engine Group and IPG’s purchase of Profero.

Sectors with a high percentage of cross border deals were found to be media (44.4 per cent), marketing research (39.5 per cent), social media (38.2 per cent) and full service digital (36.2 per cent.)

After WPP, Publicis Groupe was the second most active with 23 deals, followed by Dentsu Aegis with 20 and Omnicom with 16.

The busiest month for M&A last year was July, with 107 deals, closely followed by February with 102. Of the sector, 94 were for full service digital companies, 76 for public relations agencies and 74 for mobile businesses.

410 deals took place in North America, 176 in APAC, 151 within the UK, 152 in Western Europe, 27 in Eastern Europe, 26 in Africa, 25 in South America and 5 in the Middle East.

The figures for AdTech and MarTech sectors will be revealed tomorrow (27 January.)

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