We have lift-off – a review of M&A activity in the UK media and marketing services sectors in 2021

By Harpreet Gill
16 Feb 2022

M&A activity in the UK media and marketing services sectors – a review of 2021

M&A activity in the media and marketing services sectors came back with a vengeance in 2021, with renewed seller confidence and buyer appetite following a more tentative 2020. Our research shows that 2021 produced 379 deals – almost double the amount of deals as there were in 2020 and up on both 2018 and 2019 – surpassing pre-pandemic levels of activity.

Digital capabilities accounted for the majority of marketing services deals recorded in 2021. Moore Kingston Smith’s corporate finance team were particularly active in the digital space, providing transaction support to AIM-listed global social media and marketing company Brave Bison, which acquired digital advertising and commerce agencies Greenlight Digital and Greenlight Commerce, and advising on the sale of Inskin Media, a specialist in multi-device, high-impact digital brand advertising, to fast-growing, pan-European digital entertainment and media platform Azerion.

Over the course of the year, we have seen that private equity and trade acquirers have become increasingly competitive for deals. Private equity investors in particular have been extremely active, their investments accounting for 54% of all deals completing in 2021, up from 45% in 2020. We have no doubt that this appetite to invest in innovative, well-managed businesses will only increase.

This rush in activity over the last two quarters especially bodes well for M&A in 2022. The pandemic has led to a strategic reset for many businesses which are now focused on thriving rather than simply surviving, seeing M&A as the quickest way to accelerate growth. With easier access to capital, low interest rates and a recovering UK and global economy, we are optimistic that this is fertile ground for dealmakers in 2022 and that the market will continue to surge as we emerge further out of the pandemic.

Click here to read the full report.


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