- 2022 is expected to be another big year for advertising M&A, according to experts.
- Buyers are circling data, healthcare marketing, and metaverse companies.
- Industry experts named 11 companies that are on the market or attractive targets.
2021 was a record year for ad industry mergers and acquisitions, and 2022 promises to be even bigger.
There were 1,747 digital media and marketing deals in 2021, according to a new report from advisory firm Ciesco. The biggest growth areas by deal volume were content production, data and analytics, martech, and digital ad agencies, with the latter two growing 90% and 110% year-over-year, respectively.
The pool of buyers is wide.
Private equity is moving further into the ad business, driving 20% of all martech deals and 14% of digital agency acquisitions, while traditional buyers like consulting firms and agency holding companies were less active last year.
Ciesco partner Colin Wheeler predicted holding companies like WPP and Publicis would do more tech-focused deals in 2022. And one traditional ad agency CEO told Insider he talked to 180 potential buyers as diverse as IBM, Accenture, Omnicom, and Endeavor when exploring a sale last year.
Buyers are interested in a range of areas.
Chris Karl, chief business development officer at M&A advisory firm JEGI Clarity, predicted an “arms race” for top performance marketing agencies, whose margins make them attractive to PE and holding companies alike.
Metaverse buzz has investors looking at companies that help marketers master virtual reality.
Data analytics and healthcare marketing are also in demand, as are even traditional ad agencies. For example, Horizon Media recently got an investment while Goodstuff was acquired. Crossmedia CEO Kamran Asghar predicted other such agencies that focus on emerging platforms would command a premium in 2022.
Advisors, investors, and ad execs identified 11
that are on the market or would make attractive targets, listed in alphabetical order. The companies either declined to comment or did not respond unless otherwise noted.
Read More: Top Ad Industry Acquisition Targets for 2022