M&As of online advertising and marketing firms to increase in 2007, finds AdMedia survey

MUMBAI: According to a new market survey of senior agency executives by investment bank AdMedia Partners, mergers and acquisitions of online advertising and marketing firms are expected to increase in 2007.

The AdMedia Partners survey – Merger and Acquisition Prospects for Marketing Services and Internet Marketing Firms – shows that survey respondents expect: increased merger and acquisition activity by both strategic and financial buyers, with the only concern being the quantity of quality acquisition targets – creating premium valuations for such firms.

The most deal activity is expected to be in search marketing, analytics, mobile marketing and buzz/viral/guerilla marketing, closely followed by online lead generation and database marketing/CRM.

Valuation expectations for interactive marketing firms increased from 7x to 8x EBIT since last year. Valuations for marketing services firms increased from 6 to 6.5x EBIT, and valuation expectations for traditional advertising firms held at 5x EBIT.

87 per cent of survey respondents expect to approach or be approached about an acquisition in 2007, and roughly half of the respondents expect to complete one transaction as a buyer or seller.

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