Ciesco Market Intelligence 1 February 2024

Ciesco 2023 Global M&A Review & 2024 Outlook

In 2023, the Media & Marketing sector M&A activity was relatively flat compared to 2022 on both deal volume and disclosed value, while the Technology & Software sector M&A activity was impacted by the broader slowdown in 2023, with disclosed deal value and volume being in line with pre-pandemic levels.

February 2024, London

  • The Media & Marketing sector saw 2,068 deals completed in 2023 (-1% on 2022), while the Technology & Software sector saw 7,547 (-21% on 2022).
  • The disclosed value of M&A deals (excluding mega-deals) has increased 1%, from $43bn in 2022 to $43.5bn in 2023 in the Media & Marketing sector, while the Technology & Software sector saw a 17% decline, from $449.3bn in 2022 to $371.6bn in 2023.
  • In the face of uncertainty, companies equipped with technological capabilities and assets were driving business deals, with the digital services subsectors maintaining their attractiveness in terms of deal volume in 2023.
  • Private Equity has remained active, although at reduced levels, utilising alternative financing methods to navigate challenging and more expensive financial markets. There is plenty of pent-up demand within Private Equity for the sector in 2024.


Media & Marketing

2,068 transactions were announced in 2023 in the Media & Marketing sectors. This is a 1% decrease in deal activity compared with the same period in 2022 but a significant growth on the same period in 2021 – up 18%, highlighting a continued buyer demand for future-proofed businesses with robust tech and digital capabilities amid market uncertainties.

Ciesco Market Intelligence tracked strong activity across all focus sectors, with the highest deal volume coming from the MarTech, Digital Media, and Digital Agency subsectors, together representing 43% of 2023 activity. PR & Communications saw the highest increase over 2022, showing a 73% rise.

The USA and the UK were the most active M&A markets in 2023, comprising 48% of global deal activity. They are followed by France, Japan, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands; when combined, this represents 71%.

Our Market Intelligence found that the APAC region experienced a 38% year-on-year increase, driven by Japan, which announced 103 deals, a significant rise from 2022 (31).


Technology & Software

Ciesco market intelligence monitored 7,547 transactions, marking a 21% decrease from 2022 and a 31% decrease from 2021, reflecting the challenging market conditions witnessed over the course of the year.

DevOps: The largest DevOps deal in 2023 was the take-private acquisition of New Relic by Francisco Partners and TPG for $6.5bn. The most active DevOps buyers  in 2023 were Francisco Partners and IBM, both making 3 acquisitions.

Cybersecurity: The largest cybersecurity deal in 2023 was Broadcom’s take-private acquisition of VMware in November for $69bn. Cisco Systems was by far the most active acquirer in the sector, making 7 acquisitions in total.

EdTech: Goldman Sachs Asset Management, General Atlantic, and KIRKBI led the largest deal in the space with the $1.7bn take-private acquisition of Kahoot! in July 2023. Paper, a Canadian ESS provider, was the most active strategic acquirer in the space with 3 acquisitions in the US.


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About Ciesco

Ciesco is a leading specialist M&A firm with a focus on the technology, media, healthcare and sustainability sectors. Headquartered in London and operating globally, Ciesco offers a unique combination at partnership level of senior industry practitioners and sector specialist investment bankers. This enables an extensive network of contacts and strong relationships that reach into organisations worldwide at C-suite sponsor levels. Ciesco is well regarded in the market for its specialist advice derived from the deep understanding of the sector, industry and buyer landscape insights, and execution expertise.