The number of merger and acquisition deals in the Marcoms sector has dropped during the first quarter of 2015, however the level of disclosed deal value grew to $3.9bn following the completion of deals such as the acquisition of Fairway Outdoor Advertising by Adams Outdoor Advertising and Dalian Wanda Group’s acquisition of Infront Sports & Media.
According to Results International’s quarterly research, the pace of Marcoms agency deals slowed during the start of the year, with only 218 completed in this sector during this period, in comparison with the same period in 2014 when 267 deals were finalised.
Dentsu led the way with nine acquisitions in this sector, followed by Publicis with four and Havas, WPP, Omnicom, Keda Group and MCI, each with three.
Full service digital agencies were the most popular targets with 21 deals, followed by Mobile (18), Branding (15), events and experiential (14), Public Relations (13), Creative (12), Website Design & Build (12), Direct Marketing (11), Healthcare Communications (10), Advertising (nine) and Specialised Services (nine).
The cross border deals (29 per cent of the total number) included St Ives purchase of Solstice ($37m), Dalian Wanda Group’s acquisition of Infront Sports & Media ($1.2bn) and Bruin Sports Capital by WPP ($250m). Of those deals, the most popular sectors were Sports marketing (75 per cent) and Healthcare Communications (60 per cent).
North America was the region that hosted the largest number of deals (50 per cent), followed by APAC (18 per cent), Western Europe (17 per cent), UK (10 per cent), Rest of the World (4 per cent), South America (2 per cent ) and Africa (1 per cent).
March was the busiest month of activity with 80 deals completed, followed by February (74) and then January 64).
This was the first quarter that WPP has not topped the Top Buyer List since the research began in Q1 last year.
Details of Marcoms acquisitions in 2014 are outlined in the above graph from Results International, more details of which can be found here.