Pickup in media and marketing M&A activity forecast

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New York—The mergers and acquisitions market in media and marketing was robust in 2010 and is expected to keep improving this year, according to year-end reports released by two investment banks.

The number of deals increased to 845 last year, a 39% jump compared with 2009, according to Jordan, Edmiston Group. The value of those deals increased to $43.3 billion last year, also a 39% improvement.

The most active sectors were online media, marketing services and mobile media, which combined accounted for 73% of total transactions, according to Jordan, Edmiston. Additionally, according to Jordan, Edmiston, strategic buyers, who are holding large amounts of cash on their balance sheets, accounted for 86% of last year's transactions.

The firm anticipates that the M&A market will continue to improve this year, despite lingering concerns about the economy and continued tight credit.

The number of b-to-b online media and technology deals reached 59 last year, an increase of 11% over 2009. In the same time frame, deal value in the sector jumped 88%, to $2.5 billion. The number of b-to-b media deals increased to 37 last year, up 85%. However, the aggregate deal value plummeted to $534 million, a drop of 85%.

The exhibitions and conferences deal market was cool last year, with the number of transactions dropping 34% to 23 and the value of these deals falling 22% to $129 million.

According to Petsky Prunier, M&A transactions in the marketing, information and digital media/commerce sector increased 49% last year, to 1,019 transactions. In the same period, aggregate deal value increased 88%, reaching $51.5 billion.

Digital media/commerce was the most active M&A sector last year, with 155 transactions totaling $7.1 billion, Petsky Prunier said.

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