Dentsu Group has been the most active network for merger and acquisition (M&A) deals within marketing communications during the second quarter of 2017, against a relatively flat global backdrop.
According to research conducted by Results International, 438 deals have been completed during the first half of the year in the marcomms space, with 219 conducted during the second quarter (the same number as during Q1).
However, there has been a significant increase in interest around the events and experiential sector. Of the deals completed during H1, the number of events and experiential companies involved in M&A deals more than doubled year on year to 35, including agencies such as MayNineteen, Wasabi Atelier Expérientiel, Playnetwork and FullSense.
The most active acquirer was Dentsu with 16 transactions, with 12 completed during Q2, compared to the four it agreed during the previous quarter.
Accenture was also busy with five deals completed during Q2, including the mobile app design and development business Intrepid Pursuits and German digital shop SinnerSchrader in February.
Full service digital deals continued to be the largest sector with 15% of deals taking place during Q2 (33 deals), followed by integrated with 22 deals and events and experiential at 17 deals.
Mark Cox, director at Results International, commented: “Digital agencies still rule the roost for overall deal volumes as the holding groups seek a combination of shoring up their offer against new entrants, keeping up with the pace of technology developments and developing new markets.
“In addition, interest in events and experiential is greater than we’ve seen for years. Brands are increasingly trying to offer best customer experiences as they try to target younger consumers, drag people away from their screen and cut through a highly fragmented marcomms landscape.
“That’s creating more demand for agencies able to offer these more in-depth customer experiences, on top of the continuing need for buyers to reinforce their digital credentials.”
The United States continued to be the most active region for deals with 171 completed in Q2 and 78 completed in APAC.
Western Europe was found to have grown in terms of its buyer activity with 128 deals this year compared to 106 marcomms deals during the first half of 2016, with the UK involved in 55 deals, a quarter of which came from international buyers, less than last year.
“It’s unclear if Brexit uncertainty is causing fewer international buyers to look to the UK, but other hubs like Paris and Berlin are certainly trying to attract a larger slice of the tech and marcomms pies and this could be reflected in deal geographies,” added Cox.
January was the busiest month of the year so far, with 89 deals completed, followed by May with 82.