Mega Deals Boost B2B M&A Value 475% Through First Three Quarters of 2016

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While the b2b media and technology sector saw just two more deals in the first nine months of 2016 over the same period in 2015 (77 versus 75), deal value is up a whopping 475 percent this year thanks to several mega deals, most notably Microsoft's $29.5 billion purchase of LinkedIn but also Informa's $1.6 billion purchase of Penton in September, according to JEGI's quarterly M&A Update.   

Other notable B2B deals in the third quarter included John Wiley & Sons' $120 million purchase of Atypon Systems, a provider of digital content delivery, discovery and monetization solutions for publishers, the Ritchie Bros. buying online auction services provider IronPlanet for $759 million and Informa’s acquisition of Light Reading, which focuses on the telecom industry.  

The database and information services sector saw a small decrease in number of transactions announced in the first three quarters of 2016 vs. the same period in 2015, with 38 deals compared to 41 last year.  However, transaction value rose radically in 2016 to $39.2 billion, due to several mega deals, including Quintiles Transnational Holdings $13.5 billion acquisition of IMS Health in Q2, and the Q1 merger of IHS and Markit for approximately $11 billion.  Notable Q3 2016 deals included: Baring Private Equity Asia and Onex joint acquisition of the Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property & Science business, which provides information for governments, universities and corporations, for $3.6 billion; the Thoma Bravo acquisition of auto marketplace Trader from Apax Partners for $1.2 billion; and CIP Capital’s significant growth investment in CARCO Group, provider of tech-enabled and compliance-driven human capital management and risk management solutions (a JEGI deal).

M&A activity in the exhibitions and conferences sector saw a 17 percent decline in deal volume and a 25 percent decline in deal value through Q3 2016, with 49 transactions totaling $2.5 billion in 2016 vs. 59 deals and $3.3 billion in value in 2015.  Notable deals in Q3 2016 included the: Viad/Global Experience Specialists (GES) acquisition of On Event Services, provider of audio visual production services for live events, for $93 million; Questex Media Group acquisition of ExL Events, provider of engaging content-driven conferences and partnered events; Hannover Fairs acquisition of Truck World Show, a tradeshow for the transportation industry, from Newcom Business Media; and Brunico Communications acquisition of Achilles Media, provider of a wide portfolio of events and services.

The marketing services and technology sector continues to be very active, with 471 transactions worth $32.7 billion in value for the first three quarters of 2016, up from 2015’s 463 deals and $19.6 billion in value.  Several notable transactions are mentioned above in the Marketing Services & Technology segment.  Other notable deals in the third quarter of 2016 included the: Orient Hontai Capital acquisition of AppLovin, a mobile marketing automation company, for a reported $1.4 billion; acquisition of Quip, a cloud-based word processing app that enables users to create documents, for more than $500 million; Nuance Communications acquisition of TouchCommerce, provider of pay-for-performance online conversion marketing solutions, for approximately $215 million; and Dentsu Aegis Network acquisitions of creative agency Gyro and programmatic advertising firm Accordant (JEGI represented Accordant in its sale).

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Matt Matt Kinsman is vice president of content + programming at Connectiv, the only association focused on the integrated b-to-b model—including publications, events, digital media, marketing services and business information. Prior to joining Connectiv's predecessor American Business Media in 2011, Kinsman was executive editor of Folio:, the leading information provider for the magazine industry.