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WPP and Dentsu most active in marcoms M&A as the consultancies hit the brakes

By John McCarthy | Media editor

Results International

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October 15, 2018 | 3 min read

The sweeping tide of management consultancies infringing into the marcoms space appears to have slowed. Research from Results International attributed this hiccup to a “brief period of consolidation and integration rather than a trend”.

It noted 237 M&A deals in the marcoms industry in the third quarter of 2018. It was the most active quarter since Q4 2016.

Marcoms

Consultancy marcoms M&A slows

It pointed at the consultancies' slowing acquisition pace in the second quarter, in the third quarter only Accenture made an acquisition. It said that consultancy M&A will pick up pace as key players look to “broaden their strategic offering”.

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WPP (under new leader Mark Read) posted five M&As, as did Dentsu, showing that the network incumbents are still broadening their skillsets (or denying assets to the consultancies). These two networks were the most active in the space during the last quarter.

Noted was WPP’s merger of VML and Y&R and the divestment of AppNexus.

Julie Langley, partner at Results International, said: “Although S4’s acquisition of MediaMonks got a lot of the headlines this quarter, it was far from the only deal of note. IPG’s acquisition of Acxiom Marketing Solutions (AMS) for $2.3bn, IPG’s largest deal in years, confirms IPG’s willingness to move forward as a standalone company.

“Salesforce’s acquisition of Datorama for an estimated $800m highlights where the marketing cloud-based platforms are heading, which is providing brands with the ability to analyse their data more quickly across all channels and take near real-time decisions on how best to engage consumers.”

Acquisitions of healthcare, gaming and sports groups were on the rise. Furthermore, there were 49 private equity-backed deals in the quarter, bringing the yearly total to 138.

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