Publishers acquiring agencies was perhaps the biggest trend to come out of 2016, according to global marketing consultancy R3's annual M&A report, which specifically looks at deals made in the marketing sector. Publishers purchasing marketing service agencies was essentially nonexistent in 2015, R3 reported.
The New York Times purchased martech outfit HelloSociety for $21 million and design agency Fake Love for $11 million, R3 said. The Financial Times snagged Alpha Grid, a content marketing studio, for $7 million. Time Inc. and Vice also made acquisitions totaling $50 million.
Acquisitions made by tech companies like Google and Snapchat can be viewed as more publisher-like. Google purchased FameBit, which connects brands and influencers, for $36 million. Snapchat acquired digital creative company Flite for $42 million, R3 said. Both Google and Snapchat create content and have made moves to better deliver services to advertisers.
The marketing industry saw 398 M&A deals last year, totaling an estimated $14 billion, up from 153 deals valued at $5.6 billion in 2015.
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