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What mobile's 2011 M&A activity means for 2012

Mobile marketing was the most active segment within digital advertising for mergers, acquisitions and investments in 2011, according to a new report from marketing and media investment bank Petsky Prunier.

Developers and marketers have adjusted their strategies to the growth in consumer use of mobile sites and applications and, as a result, delivered 41 mobile-related acquisitions worth approximately $780 million in 2011 and 39 investments worth $314 million. Mobile marketing deal activity in 2011 increased 150 percent from 2010, according to Petsky Prunier?s summary of 2011 M&A and investment activity.

The report also shows that Google, Publicis, WPP and eBay were the most active strategic buyers across all marketing and media segments.

Strategic buyers accounted for approximately half of deals across all segments and 64 percent of transaction value in 2011, according to Petsky Prunier, New York. Compared to 2010, strategic deal volume increased 148 percent, while aggregate deal value increased 147 percent.

Google and Publicis were the most active strategic buyers in 2011 with 29 and 22 transactions, respectively. WPP and eBay followed with 18 and 11 announced acquisitions, respectively.

Venture capital investment triples
Overall, mergers and acquisitions and investment activity in the Marketing, Media, Technology and Service industries grew 187 percent in 2011, while aggregate transaction value increased 152 percent, compared to 2010. During 2011, Petsky Prunier tracked 3,026 transactions for a total of $141.6 billion across seven broad segments: Digital Advertising, Agency/Consulting, Marketing Technology, Digital Media/Commerce, Software & Information, Out-of-Home & Specialty Media and Marketing Services.

Mobile marketing put in a strong performance within the digital advertising segment.

Some of the noteworthy mobile acquisitions in 2011 included Motricity?s $93 million deal for mobile marketing provider Adenyo, Augme Technologies? $45 million purchase of mobile marketing firm Hipcricket and Lenco Mobile?s $42 million acquisition of mobile marketing company iLoop Mobile.

Investment in mobile marketing by venture and capital growth firms was also up significantly from 2010 as both activity and value more than tripled. Mobile marketing companies are using the funds to enhance their technology offers to exploit the boom in tablets and other mobile devices.

Significant funding rounds in 2011 included JumpTap raising $25 million from Alliance Bernstein, Mojiva picking up $25 million from Shamrock Capital Advisors and JiWire getting $20 million from Trident Capital. 

Petsky Prunier also reported that the Digital Media/Commerce segment experienced significant increases in investment, with Social Media/Apps, eCommerce, Mobile Content/Apps and Gaming accounting for 70 percent of all investments.

Investment activity in the Marketing Technology segment was also up compared to 2010. The Social Technology and Mobile Technology subsegments accounted for one-third of that segment's investments.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York