‘Deals! Deals! Deals!’
That was the mantra of bankers and corp. dev execs in the ad tech sector in the heady days following the initial shock of the Covid-19 pandemic when any sort of adjacency to the digital, or tech, sectors seemed like a license to print money. Lingering economic worries that haven’t quite disappeared aren’t having a huge effect on the appetite for mergers and acquisitions in the digital marketing space.
Although, as Newton’s third law of motion attests ‘what goes up, must come down’ and deal volume in the sector tailed off considerably in the latter part of 2022, and early 2023, compared to the early post-Covid period, as economic realities such as interest rate rises kicked in.
Despite the continued elevation of interest rates contrasting starkly with the ‘free money era’ of the 2010s, plus concerns around the catastrophic prospect of the U.S. defaulting on its debts, some are taking a glass-half-full take on the potential for deal activity to reignite.
That was the mood music from the conference floor at this week’s Digital Media Summit (DMS) hosted by the industry’s most recognizable investment bank LUMA Partners where senior execs from Google, Microsoft, and Uber, among others, graced the stage.
Prior to DMS, Partner Conor McKenna shares his insights on the current state of deal activity, the industry’s call for data collaboration as international governments continue to chant privacy, and the new turn for SSPs and DSPs to horizontality.