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Private equity fuels ad tech and martech deals rise

The first quarter of 2017 was the busiest on record for global ad tech and martech deals according to new figures from M&A specialist Results International. The number of deals dropped in Q2, from 115 to 102.

At 217 deals, the combined number is up by 24 on the previous half and is the second highest half-year figure on record.

Private equity and PE-backed portfolio companies emerged as strong buyers, accounting for 20 per cent of martech deals and 15 per cent of ad tech.

A factor may be the the improved performance of ad tech firms on the public markets over the past year. Mobile technology company Taptica has more than quadrupled in value since July 2016, while The Trade Desk and Crossrider have also seen growth double. Local search marketing and content management firm Yext went to IPO in April and continues to trade above its IPO valuation at a strong revenue multiple.

$100m+ adtech deals in H1 2017 include:

*Oracle buying ad tracking firm Moat for $850m, which shows the high valuations being achieved for data intensive and insight-driven platforms with high levels of recurring revenue.

*Snap Inc. buying Placed, a location-based marketing and analytics platform for a (reported) $200m. This deal mirrors Twitter’s acquisition of MoPub and Facebook’s investment in LiveRail to help monetise their respective offers.

*Teads (acquired by Altice) and Turn (acquired by SingTel’s Amobee) with both valued at around $300m.

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The US remains the most active market for such deals with over 50 per cent although its lead is slowing.

Results International partner Julie Langley says: “One trend that has been apparent in the first half of this year is traditional media players (namely publishers and broadcasters) buying into ad tech. Looking beyond the acquisitions of Teads and Turn by telcos, Time Inc. bought Adelphic for $25m, Entravision acquired Headway for $50m and Conde Nast purchased CitizenNet. This strategy is driven by a need for those players to better monetise and digitally transform their businesses.”

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