WPP Leads Ad Holding Companies in Digital, Media Deals in Third Quarter
By Nathalie Tadena
WPP was the most active acquirer of digital, marketing and media companies in the third quarter, according to an analysis by corporate finance advisory firm Ciesco.
Ciesco’s report counted 248 deals announced in this sector in the third quarter, a 32% increase from the year-ago quarter. The total disclosed value of these deals was $17.4 billion. The true value of these transactions is likely much higher since not all of the deals’ values have been disclosed.
WPP, the world’s largest ad holding company, had the heaviest volume of deals in the quarter. Of the 12 deals announced by WPP, four were acquisitions of public relations firms, according to Ciesco’s analysis. Fellow ad holding companies Dentsu and Publicis were the next most acquisitive players in the space, each with four deals in the quarter. Of the other agency groups, Havas disclosed two deals and Interpublic announced one.Omnicom did not unveil any acquisitions during the quarter.
In another sign of traditional consulting firms expanding their reach into marketing services, Accenture completed three agency acquisitions in the third quarter while Ernst & Young acquired one digital consultancy.
Ciesco counts 790 deals in the digital, marketing and media space that have been announced year-to-date and expects the full-year number of M&A transactions to match last year’s record 1,028 deals for the sector.