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Berkery Noyes Releases Online and Mobile Industry M&A Report For Full Year 2016

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

NEW YORK — January 11, 2017 — Berkery Noyes, an independent mid-market investment bank, today released its full year 2016 mergers and acquisitions trend report for the Online and Mobile Industry. The report analyzes M&A activity in the Online and Mobile Industry during 2016 and compares it with data covering 2014 and 2015.

According to Berkery Noyes’ latest research, volume saw a one percent uptick on a year-to-year basis, totaling 2,874 transactions in 2016. Aggregate deal value gained 12 percent, from $157.99 billion to $177.35 billion. The median revenue multiple moved slightly from 2.2x to 2.1x, while the median EBITDA multiple improved from 10.0x to 11.3x. Over the past three years, deals in the $10-$20 million range received a median enterprise value multiple of 2.0x revenue, compared to 2.3x revenue for those in the $20-$80 million range and 3.6x revenue for those in the $80-$160 million range and above.

The number of acquisitions in the consumer mobile application subsector remained about constant from 2015 to 2016. Notable mobile-based transactions in the gaming sector during 2016 included Tencent Holdings’ acquisition of Supercell, the Finnish maker of the “Clash of Clans” game, for $8.6 billion; and a Chinese consortium’s announced acquisition of Playtika, a social and mobile games company headquartered in Israel, for $4.4 billion.

Additional mobile deals by high profile acquirers in 2016 were Microsoft’s announced acquisition of Swiftkey, which provides predictive keyboard technology for Android and iOS devices, with a reported purchase price of approximately $250 million; Gopro’s announced acquisition of video editing apps Replay and Splice for $105 million; Snap (formerly known as Snapchat) with the acquisition of Vurb, a mobile search and discovery engine, for a reported $110 million; and Bitstrips, which allows users to create personalized emojis and carton avatars, for a reported $100 million; and CNN’s announced acquisition of Beme, a social media app founded by YouTube star Casey Neistat, for a reported $25 million.

The E-Commerce segment was responsible for the overall industry’s largest yearly rise in volume with an 11 percent increase. Notable E-Commerce deals during the past year included Wal-Mart’s acquisition of Jet.com, an online retailer, for $3.3 billion; Salesforce’s acquisition of Demandware, a provider of digital commerce solutions used by retailers, for $2.66 billion; Ctrip’s announced acquisition of Skyscanner, a global travel search site that offers online comparisons for millions of flight, car hire and hotel prices, for $1.74 billion; Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of Trader Corporation, a digital automotive marketplace, for $1.22 billion; Alibaba Group’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Lazada, an E-Commerce platform that serves consumers in Southeast Asia, for $1 billion; Hudson’s Bay Company’s acquisition of Gilt Groupe, an online retailer that offers luxury flash sales, for $250 million; and Just Eat’s announced acquisitions of hungryhouse, an online food company that operates in the U.K., for $252 million; the acquisition of four online food businesses from Rocket Internet and foodpanda, for $139 million; and SkipTheDishes, one of Canada’s largest online food delivery marketplaces, for $84 million.

Transaction activity in the E-Marketing & Search segment increased three percent throughout the last 12 months. Notable deals in this sector during the year included Vista Equity Partners’ acquisition of Marketo, an automated marketing software company, for $1.7 billion; Orient Hontai Capital’s announced acquisition of AppLovin, a mobile marketing automation platform, for $1.4 billion; a Chinese consortium’s acquisition of Media.net, an advertising technology company, for $900 million; Salesforce’s announced acquisition of Krux Digital, a data management platform used by marketers, media companies, publishers, and agencies, for $700 million; Adobe’s acquisition of TubeMogul, an advertising software platform, for $542 million; Oracle’s acquisition of AddThis, a web tracking and data analytics company, for $175 million; Gannett’s acquisition of ReachLocal, an online marketing firm that helps small and medium sized businesses find local customers, for $157 million; and Spearhead Integrated Marketing Communication Group’s announced acquisition of Smaato, a real-time advertising platform for mobile publishers, for $148 million.

“Given the market’s emphasis on data and the increased demand for analytics solutions, companies in this sector should expect to see premium valuations,” said Vineet Asthana, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “Before, marketers had few data points and completely relied on humans to source leads. As we moved toward the digital era, the amount of data points that a typical marketer has to interpret every day has skyrocketed.” Asthana continued, “Machine learning has the ability to extract patterns from huge volumes of data which have high velocity and variety. Predictive analytics and machine learning are transforming the way marketers evaluate and respond to consumer activity in milliseconds and cross channel digital marketing is rapidly taking hold.”

As for other sectors covered in the report, volume in the Communications segment stayed nearly the same on a yearly basis. Meanwhile, deal activity in the E-Content segment decreased eleven percent year-over-year. This followed a 21 percent rise in 2015.

A copy of the ONLINE AND MOBILE INDUSTRY M&A REPORT FOR FULL YEAR 2016 is available at the Berkery Noyes website.