Ciesco 2021 Global M&A Review and 2022 Outlook

DIGITAL MEDIA, MARTECH AND DIGITAL AGENCY HEAD M&A DEALS IN 2021, WITH 2022 SET TO SEE A CONTINUED APPETITE

After the events of the Covid-19 pandemic which put the global economy in flux, it was initially unforeseen that M&A would come to excel during these circumstances; however, 2021 came to be a record-breaking year for M&A deals. After the end of 2020 showing improvements in deal activity after a difficult Q2, the Q2 and Q3 of 2021 saw the peak of the year’s deal activity. Our Global M&A Review details the M&A deal activity throughout 2021 and reports global resilience in the tech, digital, media and marketing sectors while we come to live amongst the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ciesco tracked 1,747 transactions in 2021. The sector experienced a 60% rise over 2020 levels (1,092) and a 30% increase over that of 2019 (1,345). The total value of announced deals, excluding mega-deals (defined as deals over £10bn) was $87.0bn, a 56% increase from 2020. The number of deals with announced values above $1bn saw a significant increase from 13 to 33.

2021 continued its global M&A deal success – with buyers acquiring targets from 61 different countries.

“The year 2021 began a period of re-invention for many companies following the extraordinary events of 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in business models across the globe in 2020 and responsible business leaders took the learnings from that year to re-oimagine their businesses going forward. 2021 was a year of significant opportunity for those who had planned ahead to stay relevant in a “new world” which had witnessed a structural change in relationship between businesses and their customers. Digitisation, data and technology were at the forefront of that evolution and M&A was a key part of the transformation strategy.”

– Chris Sahota, Founder & CEO of Ciesco

Figure 1: Annual M&A deal volume and value 2017-2021

The Private Equity market continued to feature prominently in the top 10 active buyers in the sector. Collectively on a global basis, PE buyers accounted for 45% of transactions by number in 2021, up by 96% compared to 2020, 39% ahead of 2019, the previous peak and way ahead of five years ago – which was below 15%.

Consultancies, tech companies and global holding networks contributed to a diverse buyer universe, while data and tech-driven business models continue to be a major attraction for financial investors.

The report expects the outlook for 2022 to bring opportunities to investors looking to back companies with dynamic business models. Private Equity will continue to deploy its way into acquisitions, while digitisation, data and technology will be at the forefront of that evolution and M&A will continue to play a key part of the transformation strategy for many companies through 2022.

Ciesco 2021 M&A Review features:

  • Our deal activity analysis by Volume, Disclosed values, Buyer categories, Geographical regions and Target sectors.
  • We are also pleased to include three guest editorials from various industry leaders across different target and buyer sectors and categories – Accenture Interactive, Apiary Capital and Merkle (part of Dentsu)
  • The report provides insights and trend analysis of Private Equity-backed activity, along with an overview of the buyer landscape and our outlook for the sector in 2022 and beyond.

Whether you are a potential investor, a strategic buyer or a stakeholder planning the future for your business, we hope you find the information in this review report insightful and informative. All reported data on deal activity is overlaid with our perspectives and insights, reflecting our substantial knowledge and understanding of the overall industry. Ciesco Outlook, in particular, reflects our deep roots, experience and expectations of being practitioners in the sector and having managed and strategically led companies throughout the various disciplines and geographies.

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