New York—The volume of marketing and media M&A activity in the first quarter soared to 333 deals, a 51% increase over the year-earlier period, according to investment bank Jordan, Edmiston Group. The aggregate value of those deals, however, fell to $10.3 billion, a 7% drop.
Driving the increase in volume was the marketing and interactive services sector, which saw 145 transactions—more than 40% of the total.
Jordan, Edmiston attributed the falloff in aggregate value to a lack of large deals. In the quarter, there was only one transaction of $1 billion or more: Advent International and GS Partners' $3.3 billion acquisition of TransUnion in the database and information services sector.
But b-to-b media showed some signs of life. The traditional b-to-b magazine sector saw the number of deals increase to nine, up 125% over a dismal first quarter of 2011. In the same period, the value of the b-to-b magazine deals increased more than fourfold, to $63 million. Among the deals in this sector was CFO Publishing's acquisition of Innovation Enterprise Group.
The exhibitions and conferences sector also surged in the first quarter, with the number of deals increasing to 14, a gain of 133%. Aggregate deal value in exhibitions increased to $258 million. UBM acquired Yankee Group's 4G World and four other trade shows in the quarter.
The b-to-b online media and technology sector suffered in comparison to the year-earlier period, when eBay's $2.4 million deal for GSI Commerce took place. In the first quarter, the number of deals in this sector fell to 17, a decline of 26%; value fell to $182 million, a 94% plunge. Among the deals in this sector was LexisNexis' acquisition of Portfolio Media, producer of Law360.