Media and information M&A market comes back to life in Q3

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Although merger and acquisition activity in the media and information industries has not returned to pre-2009 levels, the M&A market did improve during the year's third quarter in comparison the first half of 2009, according to a report from the Jordan, Edmiston Group.

With 168 announced third-quarter transactions, valued at $11.1 billion, Jordan, Edmiston reports that the overall transaction volume was down 30% versus the same period a year ago and deal value declined 42%. The entire first half of the year, however, saw only $5.3 billion in deal value, the firm reported.

The online media and technology sector was the most active, with many of the largest and fastest growing online media companies making acquisitions in the third quarter. The list includes Facebook, which acquired FriendFeed for $50 million; Amazon, which bought Zappos for $928 million; and Yahoo, which acquired Maktoob for $85 million.

Meanwhile, the mobile media and technology sector showed the largest year-over-year gain, led by strategic acquirers seeking to enhance their product offerings. The largest deal in the third quarter was Syniverse Holdings' $175 million purchase of Verisign's mobile messaging platform.

While deal activity in the marketing and interactive services sector lagged behind 2008 levels, there was a spike in activity in the third quarter with several large buys announced. These included IBM's $1.2 billion deal for SPSS; Adobe's acquisition of Omniture for $1.8 billion; and Publicis Groupe's purchase of Razorfish for $530 million.

Industry experts told DMNews last month that Adobe's acquisition of Omniture could foretell future acquisitions in the measurement space.

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