As the year progresses, there continues to be uncertainty impacting financial markets driven by global events.
While there is a contraction in risk appetite from the venture capital community, private equity ambition alongside strategic M&A activity remains strong – quality assets with strong capability and growth in the marketing services vertical continue to attract high levels of interest.
Once again, April has been a busy month with 72 deals tracked in the space including a number of high-profile buyers. Overall, Q1 2022 was the busiest quarter for M&A since the start of the pandemic, with 206 deals in total, and this level of activity is reflected in April numbers.
Of the 72 transactions recorded in April, 48 were strategic M&A deals, four related to direct private equity investment and notably 20 were actioned by private equity-backed strategics (15 in March 2022).
In April, in line with ongoing trends, North America was again the most active region with 35 targets acquired. There were 11 deals recorded relating to UK assets and 16 deals tracked in western Europe.
Deals of note in the month included:
- Havas acquired independent data and performance agency Search Laboratory.
- PR group Huntsworth, backed by CD&R, acquired independent UK agency Cirkle, which will retain its brand within the group.
- US challenger network Stagwell acquired Polish ecommerce and content group Brand New Galaxy.
- Carlyle-backed technology and marketing services group Dept acquired scaled US digital growth marketing agency 3Q Digital.
- Horizon-backed B2B marketing group The Marketing Practice continued its run of deals over the past year with the acquisition of US account-based experience specialist Campaign Stars.