July 12, 2010, 3:07 PM

Big deals pushed up Q2 M&A activity in marketing technology

Deals included IBM’s purchase of Coremetrics and GSI’s acquisition of Fetchback.

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Marketing technology was the most active segment in merger and acquisition activity among seven segments of the marketing, information and digital media industries monitored in the second quarter by investment bank Petsky Prunier LLC. Overall, merger and acquisition activity in these areas grew 12% in Q2 from Q1, the firm says.

Petsky tracked 226 transactions valued at a total of $12.6 billion across seven marketing industry segments: interactive advertising, advertising and promotion, out-of-home and specialty media, marketing technology, digital media, software and information, and marketing services.

The marketing technology segment was the busiest in Q2 with 69 transactions, including 31 acquisition and 38 investments, valued at total of approximately $2.6 billion, Petsky says. Among the major deals were IBM Corp.’s $1.4 billion acquisition of Sterling Commerce, a provider of technology that helps retailers connect with customers and suppliers, from AT&T Inc.

Among the marketing technology segment, the most active subgroup involved 12 deals valued at a total of about $167 million among companies in online targeting and content optimization. Among these were e-commerce platform technology and services provider GSI Commerce Inc.’s acquisition of Fetchback, a company whose marketing system targets consumers who have abandoned e-commerce sites; personalization technology provider MyBuys’ acquisition of ad network optimization company Veruta; and community forum network company CrowdGather’s acquisition of ADISN, a provider targeted marketing technology that encompasses data from social networks.

Petsky also notes that, in the marketing technology subgroup of web analytics and reporting, IBM’s acquisition of Coremetrics for an estimated $150 million leaves WebTrends as the only remaining independent web analytics company of significant size.

“The consolidation in the web analytics and reporting subsegment validates click stream data as a foundation of digital marketing information and a basis for conversion optimization, site-based promotion and other sales incentives that drive brand loyalty,” Petksy says.

In the marketing services segment, Petsky also notes that e-mail marketing services firm e-Dialog, a unit of GSI Commerce, acquired MBS Insight, a provider of data analytics and marketing database applications, for $22.5 million. “The acquisition combined two best in class, multichannel digital and marketing database solution providers,” Petsky says.

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