Riding on the momentum from the end of 2020, Q1 2021 represented another strong quarter across the Digital Media and Marketing Ecosystem. We saw significant M&A and capital markets activity throughout the Ad Tech, MarTech and Digital Content sectors, as companies put the pandemic-induced lull of mid-2020 in the rearview mirror.

M&A activity surged in Q1, well above Q1 2020, with ten, one billion-dollar-plus deals announced across Ad Tech, MarTech, and Digital Content. This was particularly notable for Ad Tech, which saw four billion-dollar-plus transactions in just this quarter, after five years without any M&A transactions over a billion.

In the public sector, companies have been actively seeking ways to access the public markets, including some faster, non-traditional methods. There were several high-profile IPOs and direct listings in Q1 within TMT, including multiple Ad Tech and MarTech public offerings. SPAC activity continues to erupt, as the capital raised in the first three months of 2021 via SPAC IPOs has already outpaced total SPAC raises in 2020. This activity continued despite the well-publicized tech sell-off in February. After the sell-off, the MarTech sector rebounded slightly while the Ad Tech sector was further impacted by Google’s ID announcement. There were some bright spots, however, as certain companies within Ad Tech and MarTech performed well above market over the course of the quarter.

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