According to Results International, the first quarter of the year saw major deals such as the acquisition of Teads by Netherlands outfit Altice, thought to be worth in the region of $300m. In February, meanwhile, Amobee purchased data management platform Turn for around $310m – both deals were particularly notable amid record activity in the space.
While the second quarter was not as productive 102 deals were still scored, bringing the total of the full first half activity to 217 deals all together in the sector; an increase of 24 on the same period in 2016.
Deals struck during this period included Marketo's acquisition of ToutApp and the significant purchase by Oracle of adtech measurement firm Moat for a speculative $850m. Another significant deal came through the aspiring Snap Inc which bought Placed, a location-based marketing and analytics platform for a reported $200m.
According to Results International, despite the fall in activity during the second quarter, there was an increase in acquisitions by private equity firms and of private equity-backed portfolio companies between April and the end of June. This accounted for 20% of martech deals and for 15% of adtech, suggesting that the sector is becoming more familiar to private investors.
This interest is partially down to the improved perforce of adtech firms operating on the public marketing, with stocks of The Trade Desk, Crossrider and Tapica all cited as strong examples by Results.
Julie Langley, partner at Results International, explained: “One trend that has been apparent in the first half of this year is traditional media players (namely publishers and broadcasters) buying into adtech. Looking beyond the acquisitions of Teads and Turn by telcos, Time Inc. bought Adelphic for $25m, Entravision acquired Headway for $50m and Condé Nast purchased CitizenNet. This strategy is driven by a need for those players to better monetise and digitally transform their businesses.”
She added that adtech businesses were seeing "signs of a revival" and that investors were becoming interested in the scale of "established" businesses in the sector which will only grow as artificial intelligence and machine learning mature for both adtech and martech.
The US continued to be the most prolific region for M&A activity with over half of the deals stemming from the region, however that lead is said to be "slowing".