Specialist M&A firm Ciesco reports a 17% volume increase in deal activity in the first quarter of 2022, with the digital agency sub-sector up 72% on 2021.
The quarter includes a 48% January increase but a decrease in deal volume in March due to economic and political headwinds, notably rising inflation and the war in Ukraine.
The two largest markets remain the USA and the UK with 303 deals out of a total 500.
The biggest deals were:
Nielsen’s ongoing acquisition for $16bn by private equity consortium led by Evergreen Coast Capital Corp., an affiliate of Elliott Investment Management and Brookfield Business Partners;
Private Equity firm Veritas Capita’s $2.8bn acquisition of learning and traditional media company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt;
Chatham Asset Management’s $2.3bn acquisition of multichannel marketing communications company R.R. Donnelley & Sons;
Content and data company Mobile Streams’ $1.1bn acquisition of cloud-based data tool company, Krunch.
Private equity, once again, was the biggest buyer. Buyers included Blackstone and Deloitte with five and four Q1 acquisitions respectively, Bpifrance, STG Partners, The Carlyle Group, Together Group Holdings and Vista Equity Partners with three each.
Ciesco CEO Chris Sahota says: “We are seeing strong activity in our sector despite turmoil in Europe. M&A activity remained buoyant in Quarter One, proving that buyer appetite remained constant. As expected, Private Equity continues to be heavily engaged and active in the sector, being the most acquisitive buyer.”