New York—Merger and acquisition activity in the media and marketing sector surged in the first half of the year, according to a report released by Jordan, Edmiston Group, an investment bank. The report found the total number of deals in the first half of the year increased to 652, a jump of 52% compared with the first half of 2011. In the same time frame, the aggregate value of the deals increased 49%, to $31.7 billion.
While large deals—such as Alibaba's $7.1 billion acquisition of 20% of its shares from Yahoo—boosted the aggregate value, 95% of the deals in the first half of the year were valued at less than $100 million. Despite the uncertainty caused by high unemployment and the European debt crisis, Jordan, Edmiston said deal volume continues apace because buyers see opportunity in social, mobile and other technologies.
The marketing and interactive services category accounted for both the highest number of deals (262) and the largest aggregate value ($8.7 billion). The number of deals in this category increased 103%, while the aggregate value grew 53%.
The number of deals in the online b2b media and technology category increased 21%, to 47, while the aggregate value increased 160%, to $7.9 billion.
Traditional b2b media M&A activity showed some signs of life. The b2b media category saw the number of deals increase 75%, to 14, and aggregate value increase 266%, to $82.0 million. Similarly, the exhibitions and conferences category saw the number of deals increase 164%, to 29, and aggregate value increase 165%, to $43.0 million.