“2020 was a crushing year for ad agencies, with thousands of jobs lost in the US alone.

Marketing and tech industry mergers and acquisitions suffered in turn. Deals were down 19% in volume and 50% by total value, with no blockbuster deals like Publicis’ $4.4 billion Epsilon buy-in 2019.

Still, M&A persisted during a global pandemic, and analysts think 2021 could be one of the most active years on record.

In January alone, Twitter bought design agency Ueno; private equity-backed Phenomenon expanded to Detroit; and Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital picked up ve companies in the US, Europe, and China.

…Much of the financial momentum comes from firms like Mountaingate, Shamrock, and New Mountain; the latter raised $10 billion across two funds one month after acquiring digital media agency Tinuiti in what one investor called a $650 million deal. New Mountain did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

…Matthew Lacey, managing director at growth advisory firm Waypoint Partners, said Mountaingate first invested in H2 in 2016 and is most likely eyeing an exit.

In 2020 and 2019, Mountaingate sold two of its top marketing investments, Tinuiti and healthcare-focused network W2O Group, to larger New Mountain Capital. Lacey said Bounteous maybe next to IP, and an investor suggested it will be up for sale soon.

Insider spoke to 23 ad industry executives who identified 10 companies that are on the market or would make attractive targets. The companies declined to comment for this story unless otherwise noted.”

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