April 4, 2011, 3:28 PM

E-commerce drives merger and acquisition activity in the first quarter

Among the notable transactions was eBay’s purchase of GSI Commerce.

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Merger and acquisition activity for the marketing, information and digital media and commerce industries last month included 626 deals worth $24.4 billion, up 197.6% from $8.2 billion in the same period in 2010, according to investment banking firm Petsky Prunier LLC.

Among the three industries, the digital media and commerce industry was the most active segment, as it accounted for 119 transactions worth an estimated $7.1 billion, or 29.1% of the estimated total quarterly deal value. Within the digital media and commerce industry, e-commerce accounted for $3.64 billion, a huge boost from $60 million in the first quarter of 2010. Social media and apps was the biggest subcategory, accounting for $1.98 billion, up from $96 million a year earlier. 

Transactions in e-commerce included the purchase by Walgreens of Drugstore.com for $429 million, and Nordstrom Inc.’s acquisition of Hautelook for $180 million. Walgreens is No. 68 in the Top 500 Guide. Nordstrom is No. 29 and Hautelook is No. 191.

The digital advertising industry had 78 transactions valued at an estimated $1.89 billion during the first quarter. The digital video subcategory accounted for 16 transactions worth an estimated $842 and the ad networks/exchanges and mobile marketing subcategories were the most active, with each having 22 transactions. The ad networks/exchanges segment accounted for $518 million and mobile marketing accounted for $342 million.

Norm Colbert, partner and managing director, at Petsky Prunier, will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 in a session entitled “Who’s buying, at what price, where are they?”  Greg Bettinelli, senior vice president, marketing, HauteLook, will also speak at the conference in a session entitled, “How HauteLook is finding success in mobile.” Sona Chawla, president, e-commerce at Walgreen Co., will speak in a session entitled “Mobile, web, stores: Coordinating all channels to capture today's always-on consumer."

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