24 July 2015
Dentsu Ties WPP for Most Deals in Digital, Media Sector in First Half of 2015
By Nathalie Tadena
Japanese ad giant Dentsu aggressive buying spree shows no signs of slowing down.
According to a new report from corporate finance advisory firm Ciesco, Dentsu and larger rival WPP were the most active acquirers in the digital, media, marketing and technology sectors in the first six months of 2015.
Ciesco, which partnered with data services provider Experian in its latest M&A report, analyzed 542 deals in the “technology-enabled media and marketing” sector that took place in the first half of 2015. Dentsu and WPP each made 13 deals in the space in the first six months of the year, the analysis found. The data doesn’t say what the total value of the companies’ deals are.
The sector’s 542 deals in the first half of 2015 have a disclosed value of $18 billion, though Ciesco noted that not all of the values of the deals have been disclosed and the true value of these transactions are significantly higher.
All of Dentsu’s 13 deals this year through June were in markets outside of Japan. In the year-ago period, Dentsu made 10 deals in the digital, media, marketing and tech sectors.
WPP’s deal making, meanwhile, appeared to slow down this year. WPP, the world’s largest ad holding company, had 39 transactions in the tech, media and marketing sector in the first half of 2014, Ciesco’s data shows. Ciesco said WPP’s deal making pace last year was likely due to a focus on growing market share when the ill-fated merger of fellow ad holding companies Publicis and Omnicom distracted competitors.
Dentsu has been on a busy deals streak of late as it seeks to bolster its presence beyond its home market. The company acquired U.K. media-buying company Aegis for $5 billion in 2012, one of the advertising industry’s biggest deals ever. Dentsu is now the fifth-largest agency holding company in the world and nearly half of its revenue comes from markets outside of Japan.
In recent years, several Japanese companies have paid handsome premiums to acquire rival businesses in the U.S., Europe and U.K., markets that are believed to have better prospects for future growth. On Thursday, Japanese business publisher Nikkei inked a deal to buy the Financial Times from Pearson for $1.32 billion.
In the media, marketing and technology sphere, Ciesco expects mergers and acquisitions activity to pick up in the second half of the year. While the deal volume in the first half of 2015 is lighter than the 605 deals announced in the first half of 2014, Ciesco projects the sector’s full-year deal volume for 2015 to surpass that of 2014, which had a record number of 1,028 deals.
View the article on the wsj