Ciesco Market Intelligence 19 January 2016

Ciesco publishes 2015 Global M&A Review


An extensive research report analysing the global M&A activity in the Technology-enabled Media & Marketing sectors, with an Outlook for 2016.

Ciesco is a boutique M&A advisory firm, focusing on the media, marketing, digital and related technology sectors. Our team tracks all M&A activity in the sector and publishes the key findings, along with our analysis, insights, and outlook, in an annually published report.


We tracked 1,105 transactions in the space in 2015, an increase of 7.5% on 2014 (1,028).

The total disclosed deal value was $60.7bn, excluding mega deals. This was a 16.3% increase on 2014’s $52.2bn (also excluding mega deals). In total, there were 14 transactions with disclosed values over $1bn.

Notable deals included the $5.9bn acquisition of King Digital Entertainment, the games developer behind the successful Candy Crush game, by Activision Blizzard; Verizon’s $4.4bn acquisition of AOL, the online digital media giant; and the $1.2bn acquisition of Swiss-based Infront Sports & Media, the world’s second largest sports marketing agency, by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group.

The US continued to be the most active country, with 516 deals recorded – almost half of all the transactions we recorded in 2015. The UK was broadly level with 149 deals in 2015, compared to the 151 tracked in 2014. Western Europe, LatAm and Eastern Europe were all up slightly from the previous year, with 157, 27 and 26 deals, respectively.

WPP was once again the most active buyer in the sector with a total of 40 acquisitions in 2015; they also held this title in 2014 and 2013. Dentsu moved up the rankings to take second place with 26 deals (18 in 2014), pushing Publicis, which tallied 19 deals (23 in 2014), into third place.

Private Equity investors were involved in 98 deals, either as a buyer or seller of portfolio businesses, down 22% from 126 in 2014. Deals by Private Equity firms accounted for 9% of all deals in 2015.

MarTech was the most active of all sectors in 2015 with 116 deals, a fractional increase from 2014 when 113 deals were announced.



For a copy of the full 40-page report, including detailed analysis on:

  • Deal statistics, volumes, values;
  • Notable deals;
  • Buyer landscape;
  • Emerging buyers;
  • Private equity activity;
  • Geographic overview;
  • Cross-border activity;
  • Sectors; and
  • Ciesco’s outlook for 2016;

please click the link below:

Download the 2015 Global M&A Review