Q3 Report: Online, Mobile M&A Deals Increase, But Values Slip (Slightly)

Q3m&aIt’s been a busy third quarter on the mergers and acquisitions front.

Yahoo has been the most active acquirer of online and mobile companies in 2013, closing seven deals in the third quarter alone. A vast majority of its recent deals were in the mobile and social space, including AdMovate, Hitpost and Rockmelt.

Other notable M&A deals that altered the landscape all played in the digital advertising space, including AOL’s $405 million acquisition of video ad platform Adap.tv, Extreme Reach’s snap-up of DGIT’s TV business for $485 million, Millennial Media’s $239 million Jumptap deal and Twitter’s MoPub move at $350 million.

Transaction volume increased from 541 deals in the second quarter to 549 in Q3, according to the Q3 Online and Mobile Industry M&A report published by mid-market investment bank Berkery Noyes. However, total transaction value was down some, slipping from $17 billion to $16.3 billion.

“Deal value declined a bit on a quarter-to-quarter basis,” commented James Berkery, CIO of Berkery Noyes. “I wouldn’t look at that as a real indicator moving forward, since the volume has increased. The decline is largely due to smaller mid-market deals.”

Chinese search engine Baidu.com’s $1.9 billion acquisition of app distribution platform 91 Wireless Websoft Ltd. marked the highest-value transaction in the third quarter; it was the second-largest deal this year. The No. 1-valued deal in the online and mobile M&A space in 2013 was Salesforce.com’s acquisition of marketing-automation platform ExactTarget, which Berkery Noyes pinned at $2.25 billion (other reports have placed that total at $2.5 billion).


Although consumer mobile apps transactions were down 38% in the third quarter, there were signs of life as Instagram picked up video-sharing app Luma and Apple acquired crowdsourced location data company Locationary.

Ecommerce and econtent acquisitions were up 13% in Q3, as retailers like Target, with its acquisition of online beauty platform Dermstore, and Staples, with its purchase of data-driven personalization engine Runa, characterized most of the deals.

Of the trends that dominated M&A in Q3, mobile, video and TV, with Twitter’s acquisition of social TV company Trendrr, were among the leaders. “Because mobile is so nascent, they are not always large deals, but there are more deals and it’s dynamically changing,” Berkery said.

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