First half marketing M&A volume skyrockets

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The value of mergers and acquisitions in the marketing sector increased by 129 percent in the first half of 2007 compared to the same period last year, topping $33 billion, according to investment bank Petsky Prunier LLC.

Petsky Prunier tracked 208 transactions in the first half within such sectors as marketing services and technology, advertising and promotion, digital content and commerce, and specialty and targeted media.

The mix included several billion-dollar-plus deals, such as Blackstone's nearly $8 billion acquisition of Alliance Data Systems, Microsoft's pending deal for interactive agency aQuantive for almost $5.5 billion, Google's $3 billion-plus purchase of DoubleClick and the $2.8 billion transaction between private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and data provider Acxiom.

Strategic buyers accounted for 62 percent of the marketing sector transactions. However, because private equity deals were larger, on average, each group accounted for approximately $16 billion of the total dollar volume.

Petsky Prunier, New York, said that it expects private equity firms will continue to announce big deals throughout the second half of 2007.

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