Ciesco Market Intelligence 13 April 2023

Ciesco Global M&A Update Q1 2023

Q1 M&A in tech, digital and media bucks expectations with healthy diagnosis despite major global uncertainty, says Ciesco.

Q1 2023

  • Despite widespread uncertainty, continued supply chain issues, surging inflation and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, global M&A deal activity in tech, digital, media and marketing fell just 3% on the same period in 2022 in Q1.
  • Strong activity was seen across the Digital Services, AdTech/MarTech and Content & Production sub-sectors, which accounted for 61% of deal activity in the focus sector.
  • The PR & Communications and Events & Experiential sub-sectors saw a rise in activity over Q1 2022, up 117% and 30% respectively.
  • The USA, UK and Western Europe were the most active M&A markets; M&A activity climbed 62% year-on-year in the APAC region.
  • PE and PE-backed firms continue to be a strong buyer category. Private Equity buyers made 40% of all acquisitions, as they did in Q1 2022, whilst Strategic Acquirers held their proportion of 60%.
  • Ciesco Chief Executive Chris Sahota underscored the importance of resilience and adaptability for business success in 2023.

April 2023, London

Despite expectations of a steep drop in M&A activity in the technology, digital, media and marketing spaces, these sectors remained ‘healthy’ in Q1 – offering a positive outlook amid global uncertainty, the specialist advisory firm Ciesco has said.

Against a backdrop of supply chain issues linked to Covid and China’s shutdown, an economic downturn, and nervousness connected to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the continuing Russia-Ukraine war, there were 493 transactions across tech, digital, media and marketing – a year-on-year fall of just 3%.

There was strong activity across the Digital Services, AdTech/MarTech, Digital Media and Content & Production sectors. The PR & Communications and Events & Experiential sub-sectors also saw a rise in activity.

Specialist M&A advisory firm Ciesco, which tracked the transactions, said that the USA and the UK were the most active M&A markets in Q1 of 2023, representing 49% of all global deals. They were followed by France, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany, all of which combined represented 70% of total deal volume.

The firm’s Global M&A Q1 2023 Update showed it was also a busy quarter for M&A in the APAC region, which saw the greatest year-on-year increase in deal-making. M&A activity climbed 62% from the same period in 2022, with Australia leading the market by 25%.

Chris Sahota, Founder and CEO of Ciesco, said that given the surrounding uncertainty, M&A activity in the tech, digital, media and marketing sectors had been ‘healthy’. He added that, despite challenges, he expected M&A activity to remain constant over the rest of the year. “We’re grappling with a great deal of uncertainty”, he said. “But market expectations were overly pessimistic.”

Download the Q1 2023 M&A update

Chris Sahota, CEO & Founder, Ciesco
"The results of Q1 should be seen as a major positive. The sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank will have made some tech investors cautious, but we’ve seen a very healthy appetite for M&A in the first three months of the year. The overall value of the deals disclosed has increased by 14%, and in the $12.5 billion acquisition of Qualtrics by Silver Lake and CPP Investments, we’ve also seen our first so-called mega-deal of 2023. The kind of resilience and adaptability that became a hallmark of successful organisations during the pandemic is proving to be key to business success in our specialist sectors. It’ll be a real focus for businesses this year. Private Equity, with its substantial dry-powder funding, continues to be an aggressor in terms of activity across the sector."
Chris Sahota, CEO & Founder, Ciesco

About Ciesco

Ciesco is a leading specialist M&A firm with a focus on the technology, media and healthcare 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.

Download the Q1 2023 M&A update