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Technology, Media and Telecom Trends Q1-Q4 2017

Last year may be remembered for many years to come, for a variety of reasons, including significant market transactions. Mergermarket, an Acuris company, has released its global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) roundup report of the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) sector for the whole year.

In 2017, global dealmaking in the TMT sector saw 3,389 deals worth a combined $498.2 billion. Although total deal value fell 26.3 percent compared to the $ 676.3 billion tallied in 2016, a new Mergermarket record by deal count was set, increasing by 233 transactions over 2016 (3,156 deals) to reach an all-time high.

Technology Sector Market Development

The latest market trends highlight the increasing influence of technology in just about everything. In fact, senior executives in various industries have been under pressure to incorporate digital transformation projects, in order to survive and prosper in the evolving global marketplace.

This has already forced company consolidations in long-standing industries such as Consumer; Pharma, Medical & Biotech; and of course Media. Half of all deal activity in TMT was driven by M&A in the Computer Software sub-sector alone, which accounted for 1,739 transactions (worth $128.8 billion) – 2.8 times that of eCommerce, which saw the second-highest deal count with 629 transactions (worth $85.1 billion).

Software was one of the few sectors where deal count actually rose in 2017. By deal value, software was responsible for 25.7 percent of total TMT deal value. But there were no software deals in 2017 anywhere in the globe that reached mega-deal (>$10 billion) status.

Private equity activity within the software sector also set a new record. While disclosed deal values for software buyouts ended with an aggregate $38.8 billion -- a 16.4 percent decrease from 2016 -- 2017 was still the third-highest value on record, with deal count hitting a peak of 438 transactions. That's 123 more than in 2016, which had previously held the record.

Global Media Sector Highlights

Media M&A had already been a volatile sector as a whole -- including entertainment, advertising, publishing, and broadcast -- struggled over the past few years to deal with the massive onslaught of changes brought on by technology advances. Moreover, the sector now finds itself grappling with the effects of several industry governance reform movements.

Global figures for the sector recorded $131.2 billion, a decrease of 28.9 percent compared to the $184.4 billion in 2016, though deal count was up by eight transactions to 568 over the same period. The U.S. market accounted for the bulk of the share of global media dealmaking, comprising 78.9 percent of total deal value within the sector, and just under 30 percent of total deal count.

At the same time, this was 22.4 percent below total value in the U.S. in 2016 ($133.3 billion) and 17 fewer deals. In fact, the media sector deal value fell across the globe, by 52.5 percent in Europe to $13.6 billion in 2017, by 26 percent in Asia-Pacific (APAC) to $13.4 billion, and by 85.3 percent in the rest of the world to $600 million.

By deal count, however, activity rose in Europe and APAC, by 22 transactions over 2016 to 228 total in Europe and by six to 135 total in APAC.

TMT Market Outlook for 2018

According to the Mergermarket assessment, the structural changes taking place across industries that were influenced by technology sector advances are likely to continue shaping the global commercial landscape for dealmaking well into 2018.

While deal values may continue to fall, deal count in sectors, such as technology, are set to rise further. The sector will likely add more pressure to other traditional sectors to consolidate and battle over high-value targets, despite political and regulatory uncertainty.

Tax reform in the U.S. market, which resulted in a sizable cut to the corporate rate, is also widely anticipated to spur more M&A transactions as companies look to invest more on potential new deals.

However, with interest rate hikes projected for 2018, this could also restrain deal values, driving them downward. Meanwhile, the overall TMT deal count momentum is unlikely to be affected, as it continues on the path of ongoing growth.

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