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Berkery Noyes Releases Online and Mobile Industry M&A Report For Half Year 2015

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

NEW YORK — July 8, 2015 — Berkery Noyes, an independent mid-market investment bank, today released its first half 2015 mergers and acquisitions trend report for the Online and Mobile Industry. The report analyzes M&A activity during the first half of 2015 and compares it with the four previous six-month periods from 2013 to 2014.

Transaction volume increased 12 percent in first half 2015. Aggregate value rose nine percent, from $64.55 billion to $70.27 billion. The median revenue multiple decreased from 2.6x to 2.3x, while the median EBITDA multiple declined from 13.7x to 10.3x. The peak for both volume and value over the last 30 months occurred in first half 2015.

The most active segment year-to-date was SaaS & Cloud with 406 transactions, which represented a 16 percent increase compared to second half 2014. This was the segment’s highest level of activity on a half year basis during the past two-and-a-half years. Regarding valuations, SaaS & Cloud deals in first half 2015 received a median revenue multiple of 3.5x. The industry’s largest transaction in first half 2015 took place in the segment as well. This consisted of Cox Automotive’s acquisition of Dealertrack Technologies, a provider of web-based software solutions and services for automotive retailers, for $4.36 billion.

In terms of other high value Online and Mobile deals thus far in 2015, Verizon Communications acquired AOL for $4.13 billion. Verizon pursued this acquisition in part to bolster its digital and video advertising capabilities. AOL has been making deals of its own in the programmatic video buying space, such as in first half 2014 with the acquisition of PrecisionDemand, a television ad-targeting company. PrecisionDemand was merged with Adap.tv, the latter of which AOL acquired for $405 million in second half 2013.

Moreover, Comcast also completed a deal in first half 2015 with the acquisition of Visible World, a provider of targeted television advertising solutions. The cable operator was responsible for a related transaction in first half 2014 with the acquisition of FreeWheel, a video ad-serving company utilized by television networks and media companies, for $360 million.

Deal volume in the E-Marketing & Search segment experienced a two percent uptick in first half 2015. High profile deals in the digital marketing subsector included On Assignment’s acquisition of Creative Circle, a staffing agency that serves digital marketing companies, for $570 million; Twitter’s acquisition of TellApart, an ad-tech platform, for $533 million; NetSuite’s acquisition of Bronto Software, an email marketing automation provider for multi-channel retailers, for $200 million; Nielsen’s acquisition of eXelate, a data technology company that facilitates programmatic buying, for $200 million; The Rubicon Project’s acquisition of Chango, a programmatic advertising company, for $122 million; and AppNexus’ acquisition of Yieldex, an online advertising technology firm, for $100 million.

M&A volume in the E-Commerce segment improved ten percent in first half 2015. Five of the industry’s top ten largest acquisitions year-to-date were also E-Commerce related. As for specific E-Commerce subsectors, notable deals in the online food delivery market included Just Eat’s acquisition of Menulog Group for $687 million; Delivery Hero’s acquisition of Yemeksepeti for $589 million; and Yelp’s acquisition of Eat24 for $134 million.

The number of deals in the consumer application subsector increased 12 percent, from 119 to 133. Meanwhile, one of the largest mobile-based payments transactions in first half 2015 was PayPal’s acquisition of mobile wallet platform Paydiant for $280 million in the B2B subsector.

“Currently there is no dominant player in the mobile payments space, but giants like Apple, Google and PayPal are vying for control,” said Peter Ognibene, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “It is also important to note that mobile payments alone may not provide a value-added service for consumers. However, companies that can integrate a full range of products with their mobile payments platform provide a compelling reason for both consumers and merchants to adopt the technology.” Ognibene continued, “Another complimentary development in mobile payments landscape, the acceptance of host card emulation (HCE) by MasterCard and Visa, will further facilitate the expansion of mobile payments.”

A copy of the ONLINE AND MOBILE INDUSTRY M&A REPORT FOR HALF YEAR 2015 is available at the Berkery Noyes website.